“The Ripper’s Shadow” by Laura Joh Rowland


By Laura Joh Rowland

It is the year 1888, and in London, England, guess what’s happening? That’s right. Jack the Ripper is just gearing up to start.

In this Ripper tale, Miss Sarah Bain is a woman who owns her very own business in Whitechapel—which is odd for the 1800’s; she is a photographer, and a highly talented one at that. In order to supplement her income she takes photographs of prostitutes. But when Sarah’s subjects start being killed off in horrific ways, she begins to think that these killings are more than just a coincidence. She wants to protect these women, as well as herself, by finding this killer and getting him off the streets.

Sarah begins her quest with assistance: a street rascal named Mick, a homosexual aristocrat named Hugh, a Jewish butcher and his wife, and a young actress. After many years of keeping people at a distance, Sarah is starting to think of these assistants as family. But when her little band of friends really hit it off and begin their own investigations, they find themselves in all kinds of danger. As Sarah and the rest inquire into a killing spree that will eventually become the ‘crimes of the century’ and try to figure out the Ripper’s secrets, it not only brings them to the attention of the police but also The Ripper, who would like very much to silence Sarah and her group for good.

Every once in a while a historical figure pokes their nose out of the sand and becomes a major source of entertainment again. Lately, Jack the Ripper has been this figure that many, many authors have chosen to bring back into the public eye. This is one author who should be given an A+ for a new take on a very old subject. From the brilliant, unique characters to the frightening fog filling London’s alleys, this is one tale you will not want to put down.

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