A year after Jack the Ripper’s string of murders stuns Whitechapel, and there is another killer on the loose in London, the city at the centre of the world.
Alex Grecian expertly interweaves the stories of multiple characters within, and related to, Scotland Yard, leading with the protagonist Inspector Little, who has just joined the “Murder Squad”.
Grecian’s ability to effortlessly glide between stories makes for gripping reading of a novel which echoes the style of a movie, a TV show or even a graphic novel, such as Grecian’s own Proof.
Nonetheless, the author’s tense and suspenseful style somewhat casts into the shadows what is really a rather mediocre plot, which does not produce anything that is extremely exciting or revolutionary.
The novel provides us with an interesting look into the workings of Scotland Yard, and also the developments of forensic science during late 19th century, when many were highly skeptical about the use of fingerprints for identification.
While the story itself is easy to imagine, I was only able to picture modern-day London; the description of Victorian London was not wholly convincing, and I felt that it lacked the muggy, noisy and bustling atmosphere which I tend to associate with the capital during that era.
The Yard is, on the whole, a well-produced, promising debut novel; it is a definite page-turner, in which style and form nevertheless triumph over content and story-line.