Praise for The Ripper’s Shadow :
"The whopper of all serial killers, Jack the Ripper, like fire, is to be handled with care, and luckily Rowland knows just how to do it, putting a new twist on old tropes with her witty sleuth, while never sacrificing historical integrity."
Library Journal starred review
“There are so many fine things about this novel that it’s difficult to enumerate them all. The characters are beautifully drawn; the dialogue sparkles; the setting is vividly rendered…This is sure to delight followers of Ripper-themed fiction and all who cherish Victorian-era mysteries.”
Booklist starred review
“Close calls, a surprise ending, and the suggestion of further adventures…Rowland has assembled an appealingly ragtag collection of amateur sleuths and keeps the suspense high.”
“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.”
"Attention to atmospheric detail, original characterizations, and escalating conflict...This is a fresh, modern take on the streets that produced a murderer 'From Hell.'"
"[Rowland's] wildly diverse cast...brings a special focus on the forgotten and ignored of Victorian society, and provides a fresh, and refreshing, point of view to the otherwise morbid proceedings."
Mystery Scene Magazine
"Easily one of the best things I’ve read all year... This is a vivid, enjoyable novel with a likable cast of characters and plenty of intrigue and suspense... I’m keen to see what Sarah Bain gets up to next."
“Great detail is given into the personalities and look of each actual historical victim, therefore easily blending actual history into a believable historical mystery…This book is a good beginning into what looks like a great new series with a female protagonist.”
PCA Mystery & Detective Fiction Reading List, Winter 2017, 4.5 stars
“Laura Joh Rowland reinvents the story of Jack the Ripper in a wholly unexpected way. Gritty, imaginative, and full of nail-biting suspense, The Ripper’s Shadow is a triumph.”
Tasha Alexander, NYT bestselling author of A Terrible Beauty
"Please let this be the start of a series. I went into The Ripper's Shadow wondering if I could care about another Jack the Ripper novel, and emerged at the end of it thrilled, off-balance, and astonished at how Laura Joh Rowland was able to bring Victorian England into such vivid life, and a story we all know into new relief. This is a fantastic read."
Charles Finch, bestselling author of The Inheritance
“Laura Joh Rowland has penned an imaginative, chilling reinterpretation of Jack the Ripper’s bloody reign of terror. A dark, seductive peek into the dangerous underbelly of Victorian London.”
C.S. Harris, bestselling author of the Sebastian St. Cyr mysteries
“Tense, pacy and compelling; Laura Joh Rowland commands empathy for the Ripper’s victims and sincere affections for her characters.”
Stephen Gallagher, critically-acclaimed author of The Kingdom of Bones and The Bedlam Detective
Taking a break from her long-running "Sano Ichiro" series set in 1600s Japan, Rowland fast-forwards to Victorian England at the start of Jack the Ripper's reign of terror. Self-sufficient Sarah Bain keeps herself gainfully employed as a photographer, supplementing her socially acceptable income with a little something extra: racy bedroom shots of women who work the streets of London's Whitechapel district. As several of her clients fall prey to the Ripper, Sarah becomes convinced that there's a madman on the loose. To help in her investigation, she enlists one of her protégés, an immigrant couple, and a street urchin, a character so ubiquitous in Victorian-set crime fiction that Rowland's would garner an automatic eye roll if Mick weren't so charming. Sarah's actions attract the attention of both the police and shadowy Jack himself, who is hellbent on silencing the woman who could uncover his identity. VERDICT The whopper of all serial killers, Jack the Ripper, like fire, is to be handled with care, and luckily Rowland knows just how to do it, putting a new twist on old tropes with her witty sleuth, while never sacrificing historical integrity.
An intrepid female photographer tracks the serial killer of the (19th) century. London, 1888. Narrator Sarah Bain makes a modest living as a photographer on Commercial Street. A substantial part of her income derives from arty, but socially unacceptable, pictures of prostitutes. Although she's a virgin, Sarah has a special affinity for these women and their forbidden lives. When two of her subjects are found brutally murdered in similar fashion over just a few weeks, Sarah sets out fearfully to determine whether they were victims of the same killer. Worried about the safety of her other models, she sets out to warn them. All the girls disregard her warnings, and the Ripper claims another victim, Annie Chapman, known as "Dark Annie." Meanwhile, the presence of a refined lady in the Tenderloin attracts notice, and Sarah gains the dogged and unwanted attention of several Whitechapel policemen, led by the courtly PC Barrett. Sarah convinces stunning Catherine Price, a protégée and subject of Sarah's who's come perilously close to prostitution, to help her find the killer. Also lending assistance are Catherine's beau, Lord Hugh Staunton; the Lipskys, a compassionate immigrant couple often persecuted because of their Jewish heritage; and Mick, an adventurous street urchin. Close calls, a surprise ending, and the suggestion of further adventures follow. Rowland, author of the long-running Sano Ichiro mystery series (The Iris Fan, 2014, etc.), has assembled an appealingly ragtag collection of amateur sleuths and keeps suspense high.