The Black Country (Scotland Yard's Murder Squad Series #2) by Alex Grecian, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
The Black Country (Scotland Yard's Murder Squad Series #2)

The Black Country (Scotland Yard's Murder Squad Series #2)

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by Alex Grecian
     
 

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The New York Times Book Review said of The Yard, “If Charles Dickens isn’t somewhere clapping his hands…Wilkie Collins surely is.” Now Alex Grecian returns with his new novel of Scotland Yard’s Murder Squad—and it’s a gripper.

The British Midlands. Inhabitants call it the “Black

Overview

The New York Times Book Review said of The Yard, “If Charles Dickens isn’t somewhere clapping his hands…Wilkie Collins surely is.” Now Alex Grecian returns with his new novel of Scotland Yard’s Murder Squad—and it’s a gripper.

The British Midlands. Inhabitants call it the “Black Country”—and with good reason. Bad things happen there.

When three members of a prominent family disappear from the Midlands—and a human eyeball is discovered in a bird’s nest—Scotland Yard’s Murder Squad is called in. But Inspector Walter Day and Sergeant Nevil Hammersmith have stepped into something much more bizarre and complicated than expected.

Superstitions abound in the intertwined histories of the villagers, including a local legend about a monster some claim to have seen. In addition, a mysterious epidemic is killing off the inhabitants, and the village itself is sinking into the coal mines below. Day and Hammersmith soon realize that they, too, are in over their heads. And the more they investigate, the more they fear that they may never be allowed to leave.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Set in 1890, Grecian’s startling and spooky sequel to The Yard (2012) charts the efforts of Scotland Yard’s Murder Squad to locate a missing married couple and their toddler in Britain’s industrial Midlands. In the village of Blackhampton, Insp. Walter Day and his team discover more than one mystery: a girl finds an eyeball under a tree, scores of townspeople are stricken with an unexplained plague, and a hideous figure is lurking in the woods with a gun. Battling local terror and superstition, the squad must also contend with the town’s physical collapse into the mines beneath it. Grecian’s bold melding of horror with historical elements more than compensates for the dramatic overkill at the end. The novel’s varied relationships balance pathos with humor and point up lessons on human responsibility—on what we owe to those with whom we’re connected. The nascent bond between Day and Sgt. Nevil Hammersmith is especially appealing, hinting at many rich developments to come. Agent: Seth Fishman, the Gernert Company. (May)
From the Publisher
Praise for THE YARD

“Outstanding. If Charles Dickens isn’t somewhere clapping his hands for this, Wilkie Collins surely is.”—Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review

Library Journal
The Murder Squad is back on the case! When a small boy and his parents go missing, Insp. Walter Day and Sgt. Nevil Hammersmith trade the fog of London for the coal mines of the British Midlands.The duo arrive in the tiny village of Blackhampton, weighted down under a thick layer of snow, secrets, and superstition. Soon, the case that was supposed to be open-and-shut has developed more twists and turns than the labyrinthine mining tunnels underlying the village. As a deadly stranger watches, more villagers disappear and Hammersmith develops a mysterious illness.

Verdict Grecian’s (The Yard) latest Murder Squad adventure is a fast-paced homage to the Victorian countryside mysteries of Wilkie Collins (The Moonstone; The Woman in White) and Charles Dickens (Bleak House; The Mystery of Edwin Drood). Recommended for Anglophiles, period mystery enthusiasts, and anyone interested

Kirkus Reviews
Scotland Yard inspector Walter Day, first introduced in Grecian's The Yard (2012), returns to help solve a murder or two in the Black Country of the Midlands. The landscape is grimy, muddy and slag-strewn--in other words, a perfect climate for murder--but other mysterious goings-on also haunt the village of Blackhampton, especially a plaguelike illness affecting hundreds of townspeople. Day had originally been called in from London along with his assistant, Nevil Hammersmith, to investigate the disappearance of a couple, Sutton and Hester Price, and their young son, Oliver. The Prices leave three more children behind--Peter, Anna and Virginia--all of them precocious and creepy. It turns out one of the missing Prices and the community disease are related when Day discovers Oliver's body at the bottom of a well from which folks have been drawing their drinking water. Almost immediately after Day removes the body, Sutton returns, reclaiming the three remaining children. Throughout the elaboration of these mysteries, other puzzles emerge, like the appearance in Blackhampton of Campbell, a giant of a man whose cover is that he's a bird-watcher. We also meet, somewhat elliptically, a menacing figure called simply The American, whose face had been horribly mutilated by Campbell at Andersonville Prison in 1865; 25 years later, he's still seeking revenge. And Campbell, it turns out, had been enamored years earlier with Hester Price, so Sutton Price's sudden reappearance leads to fighting that emerges from jealousy. Grecian packs in almost more plot than a body can stand, but he presents with fine precision the gray and gritty atmosphere of late-Victorian England.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780425267738
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
05/06/2014
Series:
Scotland Yard's Murder Squad Series, #2
Pages:
400
Sales rank:
95,281
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
Praise for The Black Country

“Ripe with gory details…[Grecian] has a flair.” —The New York Times Book Review

“Similar to Jean Zimmerman’s atmospheric psychological novel The Orphanmaster, and as shocking as David Morrell’s Murder as a Fine Art.”Booklist (starred review)

“Devilishly dark…It isn’t often that a mystery-thriller enthralls so completely…but as usual with Mr. Grecian, there is more to this tale than complex plotting…A displaced eye, a crumpled note, cryptic limericks and lost ribbons: like our detective heroes, we follow these trails into the white-blinding snow to its brilliant and unexpected conclusion. Whether you read the tale in the dark night of winter or the haze of a summer sun, be prepared for the chill. The days are dark in Black Country.”The Huffington Post

“Grecian creates an eerie atmosphere from start to finish, and without giving anything away, the killer here is creepy and unexpected.”—Bookreporter.com

“Startling and spooky . . . [a] bold melding of horror with historical elements.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“[Grecian] presents with fine precision the gray and gritty atmosphere of late-Victorian England.”—Kirkus Reviews

Praise for The Yard

“Grecian has a talent for capturing gory details…extremely vivid (and strangely moving)…[Grecian] does outstanding descriptive work on the mad and the maimed, the diseased and the demented…If Charles Dickens isn’t somewhere clapping his hands for this one, Wilkie Collins surely is.”—The New York Times Book Review

“[A] mix of historical facts and vivid fictional creations. It’s great fun…Grecian’s debut is the promising start of a new series and should be one of the most acclaimed and popular mysteries of the year.”—The Huffington Post

“Exuberantly grisly.”—The Guardian (U.K.)

“Grecian powerfully evokes both the physical, smog-ridden atmosphere of London in 1889 and its emotional analogs of anxiety and depression. His infusion of actual history adds to this thriller’s credibility and punch. A deeply satisfying reconstruction of post-Ripper London.”—Booklist

“A brilliantly crafted debut novel with unforgettable characters. An utterly gripping tale perfectly evokes Victorian London and brings you right back to the depraved and traumatic days of Jack the Ripper.”—Lisa Lutz, author of The Spellman Files

“Lusciously rich with detail, atmosphere, and history, and yet as fast paced as a locomotive, The Yard will keep you riveted from page one. It’s truly a one- or two-sitting read.”—Jeffery Deaver, New York Times bestselling author

“Grecian successfully recreates the dark atmosphere of late Victorian London.”—Kirkus Reviews

“A winner, filled with Victorian arcana and eccentric characters and more humor than one expects from such a work.”—The Rap Sheet

“This excellent murder mystery debut introduces a fascinating cast of characters. Grecian displays a flair for language as well as creating vivid (and occasionally gruesome) depictions of places and events.”—Library Journal

“All the gruesome sights, sounds, and smells of a depraved Victorian London are vividly depicted…not for the squeamish. a gripping police procedural mystery and cracking good read. Recommended.”—Historical Novel Society

Meet the Author

Alex Grecian is the author of the The Yard, his debut novel of Scotland Yard’s Murder Squad, and the long-running and critically acclaimed graphic novel series Proof. He lives in the Midwest with his wife and son..

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