‘Ruler of the Night’ trans­ports read­ers to Vic­to­rian Lon­don

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FEATURES - By Jeff Ay­ers The Associated Press

“Ruler of the Night” (Mul­hol­land Books), by David Mor­rell

David Mor­rell’s con­clu­sion to the tril­ogy fea­tur­ing Thomas De Quincey is an­other ex­am­ple of stel­lar writ­ing and sto­ry­telling. In the two pre­vi­ous nov­els fea­tur­ing the es­say­ist and opium ad­dict, Mor­rell has taken the reader on a jour­ney back in time to Vic­to­rian Lon­don, and in “Ruler of the Night,” he saves the best for last as he cen­ters on a crime that haunted Lon­don.

It’s 1855 and trans­porta­tion by train has just been in­tro­duced. Though many are wary of the ve­hi­cles that belch black smoke, others are fas­ci­nated. When a man is mur­dered, panic en­sues. The crime is bru­tal, and peo­ple be­gin to grow wary of train travel. Though the real crime Mor­rell de­picts oc­curred in 1864, the de­tails are ac­cu­rate.

Fact and fic­tion blend ef­fort­lessly as De Quincey and his daugh­ter Emily search for the cul­prit. Thomas has been try­ing to kick his ad­dic­tion, but he’s strug­gling. Work­ing with his daugh­ter and their Scot­land Yard friends to solve the mys­tery might help him end his need for opium — or lead him into a dark spi­ral that could lead to an over­dose.

Real his­tor­i­cal fig­ures mix with the he­roes, and the thriller el­e­ments are both ter­ri­fy­ing and grotesque. Mor­rell’s im­pec­ca­ble re­search shines, as the story feels au­then­tic and vivid. Read­ers will feel trans­ported to Vic­to­rian Lon­don with all of the sights and sounds that go with it. On­line: http://david­mor­rell.net/

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