THE DEVIL’S WORKSHOP is third in Alex Grecian’s Scotland Yard Murder Squad series. We have the familiar characters from the first two books: Walter Day, Nevil Hammersmith, Dr. Kingsley and his daughter, and more. Day and his wife are due to become parents very soon.
But Day and Hammersmith are called out because a derailed train has broken the gates of the toughest prison in the area. Four – or was it five? -- inmates have escaped and must be found and returned to custody before they can commit more crimes. It’s possible that the alleged fifth inmate is Jack the Ripper himself.
As they try to recapture the fugitives, Day and Hammersmith uncover a vigilante secret society bent on what the members see as justice; readers will be surprised at the identity of one of the members of this society. Meanwhile, Day’s wife goes into labor, and there are surprises concerning that as well.
The setting draws readers in. Readers can imagine the errand boys running everywhere at adults’ bidding for a few coins, the gaslights of the time (the 1890’s), the fog, and more. Grecian handles this very well.
Grecian’s novels aren’t “mysteries” in the classic sense; readers quickly figure out who is doing what crimes. They are closer to thrillers. But the thrill is still there, and gory scenarios abound. Readers don’t expect thrillers to be tea parties, and Grecian’s work is in no way for extremely sensitive readers.
Also, since this is third in the series and I've read all three, I cannot attest to how easy it would be to join in at this point. For the second book, BLACK COUNTRY, and this novel, some introductory front matter might be helpful.
With all this in mind, however, I’m really learning to appreciate a well-written thriller, and this is well-written. I’ll keep my eyes open for more novels of the Scotland Yard Murder Squad.