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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars wonderful characters that make this book stand out
Review:

I realise i'm very late to the party when it comes to Sarah Pinborough, and i have no excuse, i have followed the lovely, lively lady on twitter for quite a while promising myself i would read her books. I have most of them on my shelf waiting.

Very recently i read her novella The Language of Dying, and it was stupendous, if you can say that...
Published 10 months ago by Parm

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Take a tour of Jack the Ripper's Whitechapel through an opium induced haze.
Published 3 months ago by Martin Blake


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars wonderful characters that make this book stand out, 26 Nov 2013
By 
Parm (A bookshop near you) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Mayhem (Hardcover)
Review:

I realise i'm very late to the party when it comes to Sarah Pinborough, and i have no excuse, i have followed the lovely, lively lady on twitter for quite a while promising myself i would read her books. I have most of them on my shelf waiting.

Very recently i read her novella The Language of Dying, and it was stupendous, if you can say that about a book taking you on a journey towards the cancerous death of a loved one. But her use of words was just wonderful, that sublime skill must exist in her other books?

So next up was Mayhem: first i was impressed that anyone takes on writing a ripper book, but to take on a book set in Ripper London where the murderer isn't Jack the ripper, that's insanity isn't it?

Sarah Pinborough, clearly drawing on the Thames Torso murders as inspiration for this second killer, she takes us on this journey following the trail of this killer through the grim dark fear wracked Victorian London back streets. We are led by the flawed but dogged Dr Thomas Bond a man who when joined by his counter parts in this tale by a mysterious priest and Aaron Kominski starts to show a depth and complexity of character that seems to be the hallmark of Sarah Pinboroughs writing, a man brilliant and yet drawn to the back street opium den, a logical skeptic but paired with a mystic and a lunatic?. While the story for me was a wonderful blend of Supernatural, thriller and crime novel, its the history, the sights sounds and smells of london (both Rich and poor) and the wonderful characters that make this book stand out. Characters that are not inflated caricatures that many writers produce when writing this period and a ripper tale, these are people brought alive through skillful writing, with real flaws and real personas.

I look forward to the next one in the series (Murder due 2014)

Highly recommended

(Parm)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Dark grisly and based on true unsolved murders of the most gruesome nature, 21 Sep 2014
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This review is from: Mayhem (Kindle Edition)
The other reviews have said enough about the story. When I finished it I went straight to the next one - always a good sign. I was going to give 4 stars originally but then I realised I was thinking over the story more and more and to me that means the book has got under my skin. Is it the mad wanderings of an opium fuelled mind or is there really something supernatural in London? It is a very good dark horror made all the better by being based on actual murders that were never solved. I loved the newspaper cuttings throughout the book. They do leave you thinking about what could have really happened. Very well worth the read, good pace and kept me entertained throughout.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply well-crafted, atmospheric Mayhem., 4 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Mayhem (Kindle Edition)
A dark presence has descended over London in the late 1800's and it isn't just the smog. Told primarily through Dr. Thomas Bond - Police Surgeon, the novel is set against the backdrop of the paranoia and mayhem instilled by Jack the Ripper. However, the `Ripper' case is merely a symptom of the equally disturbing but lesser known events of the Torso murders (1887 - 1889).

It is these horrendous crimes and some of the actual people involved in the case(s), such as Inspector Moore and Dr. Bond, in which this story concentrates. Having read some Historical Fiction before, I've found them to be rather staid. Mayhem however, works with an obviously well researched historical foundation together with Ms. Pinborough's own unique supernatural twist on events, bringing real characters to life through the story's own internal narrative.

While Dr. Bond is the reader's identification figure, the story progresses through the tales of various characters. Told in first and third person, sometimes jumping back in time - places, and interspersed with newspaper articles of the day, the structure is such that it works amazingly well. As each chapter ends, a character's story is briefly snatched away from the reader, only to be revisited later. It left me in constant anticipation, even though the killer is revealed well before the end - a brave decision. A decision that cranks up the anticipation levels through to its conclusion. For this isn't so much a `whodunnit', as a `howthehellwegonnadealwithit'.

Not only is Mayhem a cracking read, I later wanted to learn more about these actual events, overshadowed as they are by the Ripper Murders. And such is the suffocating atmosphere of Victorian London that pervades this novel and the interesting struggle of Dr. Bond's drug induced double-life, the second novel, Murder, can't come soon enough.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars, 1 July 2014
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This review is from: Mayhem (Kindle Edition)
Take a tour of Jack the Ripper's Whitechapel through an opium induced haze.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Got better as it went on, 26 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Mayhem (Kindle Edition)
I bought this book on a whim and out of boredom. To start with, I found it a bit cliched and disjointed and was going to stop reading, but when the story got into full swing, it was really engaging. Not really a game changer, but a good read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A good read, 24 Jun 2014
By 
Mark West (Kettering, Northants United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Mayhem (Paperback)
A new killer is stalking the streets of London’s East End. Though newspapers have dubbed him ‘the Torso Killer’, this murderer’s work is overshadowed by the hysteria surrounding Jack the Ripper’s Whitechapel crimes. The victims are women too, but their dismembered bodies, wrapped in rags and tied up with string, are pulled out of the Thames – and the heads are missing. The murderer likes to keep them.

With police resources stretched tight in the hunt for Jack The Ripper, Inspectors Moore and Andrews call upon the expertise of Police Surgeon Thomas Bond, a well-respected doctor who is nursing hurt in his private life. As more murder victims - and body parts - begin to appear, all found close to the Thames, it seems that there might be something out of the ordinary about the killer. The narrative is shared with a timid Russan immigrant, Aaron Kosminski, a hairdresser by trade who is touched by the gift of foresight and can see something bad slowly covering the city with its influence. There’s also a priest, a hulk of a man with a withered hand, who might or might not be an ally of Bond’s. Well written and wonderfully atmospheric - from the almost tangible fog you can feel on the damp, cobbled streets to the smoky, claustrophobic environment of the Chinese opium dens - this benefits greatly from a flawed hero, who resorts to drugs to help him on his search, moreso when he realises that the supernatural might be involved. Bearing in mind the era, the gore is well used and brutal, further helping to create an atmosphere were no-one is safe and although the villain is revealed early in the plot Pinborough handles it well and the use of real people in the supporting cast adds a great weight to the characterisation. I don’t tend to read historical fiction so maybe it’s me but I found the pacing a bit too slow at times and would have liked more at the climax of the book (which is very brisk), but otherwise this is good, entertaining read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 9 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Mayhem (Kindle Edition)
A thrilling book. I enjoyed every moment. In fact I was disappointed to reach the end. A really good read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Rivers of Blood, 19 May 2014
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This review is from: Mayhem (Kindle Edition)
While Jack the Ripper stole the glory, he was not the only serial killer at work at work in London in the 1880s. Perhaps more gruesome than the Ripper's modus operandi were the Thames Torso Murders, in which a series of female victims were dismembered, decapitated, and dumped in the river to be found in pieces by members of the public and constabulary. Sarah Pinborough revisits the crimes, and grafts a supernatural element to the terror that adds further unease to the investigation. The principal character is Thomas Bond, the real life police surgeon involved in both the Ripper case and the Thames Torso findings. He's a fallible, exhausted investigator, who at first rejects the supernatural and is then slowly drawn into its possibilities.

Pinborough's Victorian London is superbly drawn, with an attention to the detail of society that will please most historical readers. The gulf between social classes and the background tensions of the time are an integral and carefully balanced lever within the story, giving it a grit and realism that sells not only the characters but also their world. With the Ripper investigation running concurrently with the Torso murders, the story is easy to dive into and initially familiar, but develops in a host of directions I haven't seen before. Rooting so distinctly in real historical events, the story also carries the slow intrusion of supernatural causes with ease.

Pinborough does not shy from the brutality of the history she explores. However, for a novel so awash with blood there is little violence on the page itself. Like Bond, the reader is forever mired in its messy aftermath, marking this as more historical mystery than actual horror. That said, the grim progression of the plot, as Bond begins to put evidence together to draw conclusions he would rather not, never lacks for suspense.

Mayhem is a deeply involving thriller, and jumps to the top of my 2014 list of great finds.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Mayhem, 15 May 2014
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This review is from: Mayhem (Kindle Edition)
A fantastic read. Couldn't put it down. The images of Victorian London and the fear surrounding that time were beautifully and darkly spun, coupled with the parallel personal battles of the characters. Loved it was based on actual events.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Thriller/Mystery, 12 May 2014
By 
S. Shamma "Suad" (Abu Dhabi, UAE) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Mayhem (Paperback)
I bought this book based on all the positive reviews, but also based on the fact that it takes place in London at a time when Jack the Ripper was everyone's worst nightmare. I love stories based on Jack the Ripper, and that is why I had bought, read and loved Maureen Johnson's Name of the Star. I was hoping for the same with this novel, and I admit, I was waiting to compare it to Johnson's novel.

I shouldn't have though. They cannot be more different in style of writing, genre, or plot. Whereas Maureen Johnson's story was based in modern-day London and had a young cast to drive the story and read more as a Young Adult novel, Mayhem is based in Victorian London with an adult cast driving the story and reads more as an Adult novel. It is a story that made my toes curl.

Dr. Thomas Bond is such an intense character, I enjoyed his journey and development more than I can say. At the beginning, I was a little worried. I wasn't too impressed with Pinborough's foreward explaining how although based on historical facts of Jack the Ripper and the Thames Torso Killer, she did exaggerate and tweak the story to fit her writing needs. I thought, here we go, this will be another flop. Simply based on that foreward.

However, although I did find it kind of hard getting into the story the first few chapters, I soon found myself immersed in the mystery and the strange characters. Dr. Bond reminded me of Johnny Depp's character in From Hell - which was also a movie based on Jack the Ripper. Fortunately, Dr. Bond does not face the same fate as that of Depp's character from the movie.

The way Pinborough played the characters and moved the story and slowly revealed certain moments and peeled back the mystery one layer at a time until you sit there in shock, knocks the breath right out of you. I did not see it coming - the murderer, that is. It played beautifully. The suspense getting more intense by chapter until that climatic scene with Dr. Bond at the dinner table, having finally seen the truth.

That scene made me shudder with its intensity. It made me want to curl up in bed and hide under the covers. It made me want to read more with my hands over my face as I peek through my fingers. It was absolutely beautiful.

For an author to be able to pull out such emotion out of you with her words is stupendous. I enjoyed every minute of this story. I felt anxiety, suspense, fear, sadness, hope, anger and so much more - sometimes, ALL AT ONCE.

I can't wait to read the next installment - Murder.
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Mayhem by Sarah Pinborough
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