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Gray, a Canadian columnist and playwright, captures Victorian London in the breadth of its grandeur and decay, shining an especially bright but sympathetic light on the city's outcast populace. A destitute woman here eyes a stray cat, "mumbling to herself that there walks two pounds of meat." An executioner's "facial pores appear to have been pricked repeatedly with pointed sticks." Pursuing his investigation, despite warnings from police and others, leads to Whitty being "thrown headlong from [a] swiftly moving carriage" and having an irate rat stuffed down the front of his trousers. However, this egocentric scribbler considers the pain worth the price, as he goes on to confront an unconvicted murderess, enlist a daring prostitute in searching for the suspicious owner of a silver flask, and face the scorn of his professional brethren--all to prove that Ryan isn't Chokee Bill, after all. Or is he? The Fiend in Human resolves this mystery amid elegant prose, frequent bursts of wit, and integral commentary on the failures of the press that reveals just how little has changed in a century and a half. --J. Kingston Pierce
This is a work of historical excellence.
The atmosphere is odoriferous and visual, the plot full of characters who belie their appearances, and the writing is witty, sardonic and Dickensian.
By combining the arch floridness of Victorian prose with a present-tense, subtly ironic style, Gray has created a distinctive voice.
I'm surprised by how good this book is. I say surprised because the story it tells, if summarized, doesn't sound like anything I haven't encountered many a time before and said... Read morePublished 14 months ago by ReasonableGoatPerson
I was in the mood for a dark, historical mystery so I ordered this book based on the reviews. As it turns out, it was really very funny and clever. Read morePublished on July 8, 2011 by A. Oliver
I enjoyed this novel very much though I can see why some readers would be put off by the writing. While the writing in my opinion is very good, it's not going to be to the taste... Read morePublished on June 2, 2011 by Barbarino
I'm the author and I give the book 5 stars, so I'm
prejudiced. However, I have never met or heard of
anyone who posted a review here.
What distinguishes The Fiend in Human from the myriad other Victorian thrillers?
1) The protagonist. Read more
I read someone's review mentioning that The Fiend in Human Form "out-aliens The Alienist." Wow. Therefore, I quickly purchased this book. Sadly, I feel swindled. Read morePublished on October 30, 2009 by Fictitious Historian
With no small amount of national pride, I'm thrilled to report that mere superlatives somehow seem insufficient to convey Gray's debut success with The Fiend in Human. Read morePublished on September 5, 2005 by Paul Weiss
Gray's gifts as a dramatist are in evidence throughout this fine novel. The dialouge and period detail are marvelous. Read morePublished on March 26, 2005 by EddieLove
I bought this book in London and I couldn't put it down! I was exciting reading about places that I was visiting with wonderfully descriptive scenes. Read morePublished on November 8, 2004 by Sean E. Bryant