15. Ripper – Stefan Petrucha
Ripper started slowly for me. Historical fiction can be a little much because there’s a lot of world building that needs to be accurate and sometimes, when people do the research necessary to build an accurate world, they want to tell you about ALL the details they found. All of them. Pneumatics? Hey! Orphanage? Hey, they don’t really have those anymore in New York City! (Do they? Is there an orphanage on a lost corner somewhere?) Another important aspect of world building is including actual people from the time period and accurately representing their jobs – like Theodore Roosevelt! He’s in there! Jack the Ripper! He’s in there too! And he’s not an artist (Damn it.) I kind of liked that idea from Patricia Cornwell even though some people were all “Boooo” (or was it “Booo-urns?”) about it. I mean, he mentions his “work” in his letters and his work is generally unappreciated, to say the least, doesn’t that seem like something characteristic of an artist who painted as muddily as Sickert did? Anyway, I’m going to stop using exclamation points and speculating about the true identity of Jack the Ripper now. Reading that should be enough of an example of how I felt while reading the first few chapters of this book. Exposition, man, exposition. Not to say that it’s not well done exposition.
The book picked up for me in the middle. Once the chase was really on, it was on. The action sequences were glorious. I did see the twist coming though. There were two sentences using the same word in two important scenes that told me exactly what was going to happen – although it was definitely well played out.