1829, London. Following a suspect into the dark and dangerous rookeries, Bow Street Runner Pyke stumbles across a brutal murder. Finding himself involved in tracking down the killer, he is dragged into a deepening mystery that challenges all his talents as a thief taker. As the city seethes with religious and political upheaval, Pyke’s investigation uncovers a web of intrigue that refuses to give up its secrets. Then, when someone close to him is found dead, Pyke is accused of murder and thrown into gaol. With the death penalty hanging over him and only his headstrong uncle and prison reformer Emily Blackwood for support, the wily hero fights to clear his name and find the real killer.
The first in the ‘Pyke Mysteries’ series, this is a fast-paced pre-Victorian thriller that delights in the blood-and-guts reality of 1800s London. Andrew Pepper has created a very believable and atmospheric setting for his protagonist that bristles with accuracy and credibility. Pyke, however, is no clean-cut hero and his methods of extracting information from the villains and ne’er-do-wells that people his world, are often every bit as brutal and unforgiving as those of the murderers he’s chasing. The thrills are a-plenty and the attention to detail only adds to the excitement. Can’t wait to get my hands on the next one.