Yo ho fellow Bibliophiles!
It’s that time again! Where we try to take over – I mean review the book we just finished! This one is a real bomb, as in bombs falling while Natzis try invading England kinda, but that is only the a bit in the background. The real story is much more gruesome…
Title: The Black Mile, Soho Noir #1
Author: Mark Dawson
Synopsis: London, 1940: the Luftwaffe blitzes London every night for fifty-seven nights. Houses, shops and entire streets are wiped from the map. The underworld is in flux: the Italian criminals who dominated the West End have been interned and now their rivals are fighting to replace them. Meanwhile, hidden in the shadows, the Black-Out Ripper sharpens his knife and sets to his grisly work. Henry Irving is a disgraced reporter on a Fleet Street scandal rag. Genius detective sergeant Charlie Murphy is a fresh face in the Metropolitan police, hunting corrupt colleagues but blinkered by ambition and jealousy. His brother, detective inspector Frank Murphy, searches frantically for his runaway daughter, terrified that she will be the killer’s next victim. As the Ripper stalks the terrified streets, the three men discover that his handiwork is not quite what it seems. Conspirators are afoot, taking advantage of the chaos to settle old scores. The murders invade the lives of the victims and victimizers on both sides of the law, as everyone is sucked deeper and deeper into Soho’s black heart.
My Thoughts: To be honest, this was kind of a hard read to get through. I am a big stickler for knowing your audience, and while I fully believe the author knows his audience, I also firmly believe I am not a part of that club. I didn’t understand many of the terms and abbreviations thrown around, I could figure enough out, but it still made for a difficult read. The overall story was great: a Jack the Ripperesque murderer is on the loose in WWII torn England and readers follow along with three different individuals as they try to solve the mystery. Two detective brothers who have been at odds for years, and a reporter who pads a little too much of his work with the help of alcohol and drugs make up our motley cast along with all the crazy side characters one could want in a detective noir. The murders are gritty with, the cops dirty, interogation is done with fists instead of words, and who doesn’t love a good set of black out curtains. The only part of the story I found frustrating was the older detective brother’s daughter runs away in the beginning of the book and readers never find out what happened to her. Yes we can assume she died, but maybe she got out of the country? Who knows, but I wish that wasn’t left as a loose end. The language however… You may need a slang dictionary from 1940’s Britain to get through the book… But language aside I’m thinking of picking up another book in the series and I’m hoping the cops are just as crooked and the murders just as brutal.