Set in a crumbling Victorian asylum where a gruesome murder is committed, this sequel to Beloved Poison explores the early science of brain study while giving chilling insight into an asylum's workings.1851, Angel Meadow Asylum. Dr. Rutherford, principal physician to the insane, is found dead, his head bashed in, his ears cut off, his lips and eyes stitched closed. The police direct their attention towards Angel Meadow's inmates, but to Jem Flockhart and Will Quartermain the crime is an act of calculated retribution, rather than of madness.
To discover the truth Jem and Will must pursue the story through the darkest corners of the city—from the depths of a notorious rookery, to the sordid rooms of London's brothels, the gallows, the graveyard, the convict fleet and then back to the asylum. In a world where guilt and innocence, crime and atonement, madness and reason, are bounded by hypocrisy, ambition and betrayal, Jem and Will soon find themselves caught up in a web of dark secrets and hidden identities.
About the Author
E. S. Thomson has a Ph.D. in the history of medicine and works as a university lecturer in Edinburgh. Her work has been shortlisted for the Saltire First Novel Award and the Scottish Arts Council First Book Award. Beloved Poison was shortlisted for the Scottish Crime Novel of the Year Award, and Dark Asylum was longlisted for the Crime Writers' Association Historical Dagger Award. Elaine lives in Edinburgh with her two sons.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Dark Asylum based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
I received a free copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This book is certainly a twisting-keep-you-guessing suspense story. The story is told in alternating parts from the current on-going story and from the past of an unknown girl. Just when you think you've got everything figured out, everything gets turned upside-down... The last few chapters were pretty exciting and well-paced. I did find this a little more gory than I would typically choose - it is a historical murder mystery, but there were some fairly detailed descriptions of dead bodies and autopsies. Not enough to make me want to put it down, but I definitely skimmed some parts. My major complaints are that the book did get a little overly descriptive on monotonous things and lagged in a few places, and the last few pages really fell flat for me. I got to the last sentence and thought I was missing pages. I feel like it should have ended just a tad earlier. Content-wise, the main character is a woman, living as a man, raised to be such by her father so that she could take over the family business and live her own life without condemnation from society. But this seems to have almost made her a lesbian by default? It was kind of strange. I did not read the first book in the series and felt kind of in the dark about the relationship between Flockhart and Quartermain. I think he knew she was actually a woman, but the two acted strangely sometimes despite trying to uphold Flockhart's deception. There were times when Quartermain would take her by the hand or arm, which I thought strange if he thought she was a man, but similarly odd if they were both trying to hold up the illusion of her being a man... I thought the story was going to deal with some tension in their relationship, but then you find out from references to the first book that Flockhart was formerly in love with a woman. There is a somewhat detailed lesbian sex scene that could have been left out. It seemed entirely gratuitous by the end of the book. I give it four stars for the creativity of the murder mystery plot, but if I were rating it on the writing in general, I'd probably go more of a three? Parts of the story were much better than others - my enjoyment of the book was not consistent throughout.
I received a free copy of this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. When I first saw the cover of this book, it looked very intriguing to me, and the description drew me in. The problem is that I just could not get into it. I read the majority of the book on a cross-country flight, where I didn't have anything else to do or distract me, but I still had a tough time focusing on the story and getting through it. I am not sure if it is because it is the second book in the series and I had not read the first, but it seemed like I was missing some things. The main character, Jem, is a woman who has been raised as a man since her twin brother's death at birth. Why did her father decide to raise her in this manner, and how does she feel about it? I am not sure because the author doesn't really go into that. There seemed to be a lot of minor characters, and I had a little difficulty keeping them all straight. While there was some mystery in who was behind the grisly murders, it didn't seem particularly suspenseful to me. I am rating this a 3 because I believe it was a well-written book, just not particularly my cup of tea.