The Yard is Alex Grecian's debut novel. And this reader has put him firmly on her 'must read' list.
London, England 1889 -the year after Jack's infamous rampage. After the Metropolitan Police failed to solve that case, a 'Murder Squad' was formed within Scotland Yard. It consists of only twelve detectives who cannot begin to solve each and every one of the hundred murders being perpetrated each month. It is Inspector Walter Day's first week on the job when one of their own is found murdered in a particularly grisly manner. Determined to prove himself and seek justice for his fallen comrade, Day dives into the case with both feet."
"The new inspector, Day, appeared to be up to the job, but Kett knew little about the man. There was an innocence about him that bothered Kett. He had seen idealistic men come and go, the city leeching hope from them too quickly."
I was hooked from the opening line...."Nobody noticed when Inspector Christian Little of Scotland Yard disappeared, and nobody was looking for him when he was found."
This is a time period I absolutely love and Grecian does a good job bringing the setting to life with lots of atmospheric detail. The plot is multi faceted with more than just the primary case being investigated. Although we know the identity of the perpetrator about halfway through, it didn't detract from the story at all.
But it was the characters that were a stand out for me. Grecian has fleshed them out nicely, providing 'interludes' where we learn some of their past. Day is a very likable character, struggling with being in the 'big city'. I quite enjoyed his wife Claire and see her playing a bigger part in the future. Constable Hammersmith is also a character I was drawn to. He's a little more down and dirty than Day, willing to bend the law a wee bit in the name of justice. But the most engrossing was Dr. Bernard Kingsley. He works an unpaid consultant to the Yard, firmly believing that the science he is pursuing will change the face of policing in the future. It was great fun to see the advent of forensics in fingerprinting and evidence collecting. Kingsley is a bit of an enigma as is his daughter Fiona.
Grecian has gathered an eclectic, fascinating group of characters, set them down in an intriguing time and place and tied it all together with an ingenious plot. I truly hope this is the beginning of a series - I quite enjoyed The Yard and will definitely pick up the next book by this author. Read an excerpt of The Yard. You can find Alex Grecian on Twitter and on Facebook.