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The Edinburgh Dead Paperback – August 17, 2011

12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Ruckley ventures successfully into the gothic with this horrific thriller ... atmospheric descriptions help sustain the menacing mood PUBLISHERS WEEKLY This frightening tale of taking scientific enlightenment much too far is enhanced by strong, sharp prose and a lively pace, making it difficult to stop turning the pages. RT BOOK REVIEWS This title demonstrates not only a huge talent but one that really will grip the reader in its vice like hands as much from the first page as its last. Wonderfully descriptive, beautifully created and of course with a cracking set of verbal architecture from which to base a series, it's definitely one that I'll eagerly await future instalments from. Falcata Times Fascinating. The author is a master at creating dread, and manages to ratchet up the tension with a sure hand. If you enjoy your historicals with plenty of suspense and a liberal dose of the supernatural, you'll surely enjoy The Edinburgh Dead! MY BOOKISH WAYS --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Brian Ruckley was born and brought up in Scotland. After studying at Edinburgh and Stirling Universities, he worked for a series of organizations dealing with environmental, nature conservation and youth development issues. He lives in Edinburgh. Find out more about Brian Ruckley at

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 354 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit; 1 edition (August 17, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316079960
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316079969
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,512,716 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jeannie Mancini VINE VOICE on January 12, 2012
Format: Paperback
With an aura of Edgar Allen Poe, a Dickensian style, and the creativity of Mary Shelley, Brian Ruckley pens his tale of The Edinburgh Dead with an incredible Victorian flourish. Steeped in historic atmosphere, this story takes place in the early 1800s amidst an Edinburgh Scotland still locked in the days of horse-drawn carriages, cobblestone streets, and lamplighters that nightly climb to the top of gas lit light posts so that one can see their way through the darkened alleyways and descending fog.

Ruckley introduces a new detective that readers may find a little akin to characters that Johnny Depp played in the movies From Hell and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Adam Quire is not quite refined, but no guttersnipe either. As a member of the Edinburgh Police force he is lately charged to investigate the murder of a man found dead in a doorway with his throat ripped out. Wounds show Adam that this was not a natural act or the act of man. Once this story takes off and Quire begins his hunt for the killer, readers will get sucked into an evocative and intoxicating world of both the elite and seedy sides of Scotland's Victorian era. Both a murder thriller and horror chiller combined, the author deftly concocts a mystery most gruesome and will have his readers locking doors and keeping candles burning in order to keep the beasts of the night at bay as they listen to the things that go bump in the night. This is an eerie tale told with panache and stamped with talent.

Quire's character is sharp and likeable. I am hoping that this book will be the first in a series of adventures featuring this humble and soulful detective who has a penchant for setting things aright. Going along for the ride in the background of this tale are some decent supporting role characters that I'd like to see become more involved in any future stories. The Edinburgh Dead definitely gets two thumbs up from this reviewer who highly recommends that you give it a try.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By W. V. Buckley on September 6, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It's hard to believe that only 200 years ago medical science was resorting to "resurrectionists," men who would dig up corpses out of fresh graves, to provide universities with cadavers for instruction and experimentation. Those are the days Brian Ruckley takes readers to in The Edinburgh Dead. As if the tales of graverobbers weren't enough, he also brings in a supernatural element to add to the suspense.

On the whole Ruckley does a commendable job staying true to history and juggling a supernatural storyline. His hero is Adam Quire, a former soldier who has left soldiering behind after the battle of Waterloo and taken up police work when the story opens. Quire has a reputation as a good and fair cop among the denizens of Edinburgh's slums, but he is the occasional burr under the saddle to some of his higher-ups. While walking his rounds one night he is summoned to the death of a death where a man has had his throat ripped out, presumably by dogs. (Yeah, I know what you're thinking now ... another werewolf-on-the-loose story. But you're not even close.)

From there the mystery deepens. Quire's investigation leads him to the upper echelons of Scottish society ... people who seem to be keeping secrets. As Quire continues to look into the death, and others that follows, he crosses the line between police work and revenge. It eventually costs him his job, but even then he is consumed by the mystery and his desire to unravel it.

Quire makes for a facsinating protagonist, straddling the line between disbelief and belief like a proto-Mulder and Scully. Heroic but flawed, he is entirely believable.

Choosing Edinburgh as a setting was a fascinating choice. It took me a bit to warm up to it though.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Charlotte Harley on August 19, 2011
Format: Paperback
Usually these types of novels for me take place in London or Paris. Edinburgh was a great escape for a change. This is a very well-written novel, beautiful, atmospheric prose, charming yet deliciously gruesome. I enjoyed this very much indeed, a combination of historical fiction, fantasy, gothic horror, with intense character insight. Take this journey, you'll enjoy it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By titania86 VINE VOICE on September 11, 2012
Format: Paperback
It's the year 1828 and Edinburgh is buzzing with scientific fervor as many scientists experiment on corpses. Other, more nefarious experiments are also being conducted on the dead, unbeknownst to the public until ravaged bodies turn up in the streets. Officer Adam Quire heads the murder investigation and is determined to solving the case even though the victim is of low class. Everyone else in the newly-formed Edinburgh police force is satisfied to chalk it up as an unsolved case and not waste any more time on it. Adam wants justice done no matter the class of the victim and decides to investigate further anyway, which leads him through the lowest class to one of the highest castes in Scotland.

I liked The Edinburgh Dead as a mystery, a period piece, and a thriller. The writing style is easy to read, but more formal than usual, reflecting a slightly modernized version of the writing style of the era. I really liked the main character, Adam Quire. He had a rich back story and experienced the senselessness of war during his time serving in the Napoleonic Wars. The flashbacks to that time in his life were powerful and really captured the unpredictability and horror of war. He saw the poor and unprivileged fighting and dying for the rich and their sovereign. Because of his history, he had no tolerance for the poor being graverobbed in the name of science and constantly dismissed by the majority as unimportant. I also liked Adam's straight-forward attitude and manner. He did what needed to be done and didn't agonize or mope when things went wrong in the pursuit of doing what he believed in and what was right. He proved to be a great contrast to the villains and higher class people who only cared about status, power, money, and upward mobility.
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