5 stars, Book Review, historical, historical mystery, Jack the Ripper, Kerrigan Byrne, mystery, series, thriller, Victorian England
About The Business of Blood by Kerrigan Byrne
London, 1890. Blood and death are Fiona Mahoney’s trade, and business, as they say, is booming.
Dying is the only thing people do with any regularity, and Fiona makes her indecorous living cleaning up after the corpses are carted away. Her childhood best friend, Mary, was the last known victim of Jack the Ripper. It’s been two years since Fiona scrubbed Mary’s blood from the floorboards, and London is no longer buzzing about the Ripper, but Fiona hasn’t forgotten.
And she hasn’t stopped searching for Jack.
When she’s called to a murder in the middle of the night, Fiona finds a victim mutilated in an eerily similar fashion to those of the Ripper, and only a few doors down from Mary’s old home. The relentless, overbearing, and irritatingly handsome Inspector Grayson Croft warns her away from the case. She might have listened, if she hadn’t found a clue in the blood. A clue that will lead her down a path from which there is no return. As a killer cuts a devastating swath through London, a letter written in blood arrives at her door, and it is only then that Fiona realizes just how perilous her endeavor is. For she has drawn the attention of an obsessive evil, and is no longer the hunter, but the prey. Fiona Mahoney is in the business of blood.
But she’s not the only one…
With intriguing twists, blood-chilling discoveries, and dazzling prose, USA Today Bestselling author Kerrigan Byrne proves a woman’s work is never done, even when she is sleuthing out a serial killer.
Review of The Business of Blood
I am a follower of Kerrigan Byrne. I haven’t read everything she’s written, but I’ve read enough to know that The Business of Blood is a bit of a departure from her norm. I am accustomed to her protagonists that may have had a dark past, but in the present, they strive for the light.
In The Business of Blood, Fiona is a protagonist with a dark past and a current life that keeps her alive in an era where single women are not generally taken care of. That she takes on the job of cleaning up after corpses is not the only thing that makes her life a dark journey. Her obsession with Jack the Ripper as well as other activities that could get her hanged complete the picture for Fiona’s grim life.
And yet, Fiona is a character to connect with. As she went from one perilous adventure to another, I found myself cheering for her. And trying to solve the mystery of the current rash of Jack the Ripper -like killings.
The Business of Blood is full of plot twists and turns. I suspected just about everyone at one point or another. Which means, at the end I could honestly say, “Aha! I knew it!” I guessed the culprit. Then I changed my mind. Then I changed my mind again. This is the sign of a great mystery plot.
This book has many fascinating characters, including a cop, an organized crime boss, a henchman, Oscar Wilde, and a psychic aunt. Each deftly carries out their vital part in the story. I will enjoy learning more about these characters as the story continues.
The persecution of several peoples (the Irish, Jews and American Indians) is brought into the story. Not meant to be a political statement, the effect was to prove that the more different people are, the more they are the same.
There is no way I will miss the rest of this series. The story ends on a teaser for the plot of A Treacherous Trade, which is due out in December. Not that I want to wish my summer away, but come on December!
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