First Sentence: The man balanced on the stern of the flat-bottomed lighter, his wild figure outlined against the glittering water of the Thames, hair whipped in the wind, face sharp, lips drawn back.
Commander Thomas Monk of the Thames River Police is accomplishes the job his predecessor started and captures Jericho Phillips for the murder of a young boy, Fig. Phillips is the owner of a floating brothel that specializes in torturing young boys and using them sex and pornographic photographs with London's wealthy and powerful. Olive Rathbone, a leading barrister, is hired by his wealthy father-in-law, to defend Phillips. When Rathbone wins his case and Phillips is declared "not guilty," Monk, his force, wife Hester and their friends band together to get Phillips off the streets.
With each new Anne Perry book I am reminded of what an amazing writer she is. She seems to love contrasts but doesn't ignore the shades of gray. Her plots are so well done and touch every emotion. They are completely engrossing and the reading of them supersedes any other activity for that day. The courtroom scene is suspenseful and it aftermath poignantly conveys the sense of failure and frustration all police must feel when a criminal is found not guilty due to the evidence not being strong enough.
She shows us London with all its layers from the wealthiest to the most poor and desperate, and that goodness and corruption exist at all levels. Perry's characters are so real it is easy to remember them book to book. At the same time she gives new, or forgetful, readers enough of each character's background to the character to become known or remembered. Perry's dialogue, including her use of vernacular and dialect, make them come to life. Monk still has his determination for justice but has softened as a man, Hester is strong and determined, Scuff's street smarts layered over vulnerability, Sutton, the ratcatcher with his dog, Snoot, Squeaky, the ex-brothel owner, and so many more who give palpable emotion to the story. One thing I particularly loved in this book was her look at the differences in three marriages; Hester and Monk, Rathbone and Margaret and Claudine and Wallace.
Ms. Perry's books inform, entertain, and make me think. Her sense of time, place, dialogue, characters and plot are excellent. I look forward to each new book and am never disappointed. For what more can a reader ask? Brava, Ms. Perry.
EXECUTION DOCK (Hist/Pol. Proc- William Monk-England-1864) - Ex
Perry, Anne - 16th in Monk series
Ballentine Books, 2009, US Hardcover - ISBN: 9780345469335