Title: The Pierced Heart
Author: Lynn Shepherd
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Bantam Dell – Delacorte Press
Date of Publication: 21 October 2014
Number of Pages: 256
Genre: Mystery & Thrillers
Rating: 4 stars
Disclaimer: Copy provided free by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: The shadow of Bram Stoker’s Dracula looms large over the darkest mystery yet faced by Victorian detective Charles Maddox — as the acclaimed author of The Solitary House and A Fatal Likeness once again pays homage to a literary classic, in a chilling tale of superstition, dangerous science, and shocking secrets.
Review: Charles Maddox, still suffering from his experiences in Shepherd’s previous book, is on a train to Austria at the request of the Bodleian library in Oxford. While in London, the Great Exhibition is running in Hyde Park and soon, murdered women will start to appear, headless and heartless, in the streets.
Shepherd takes the reader on a tour of London and the Continent, drawing on elements of, this time, Dracula. The writing style, a negative challenge to some readers, for me, assists in focusing on where the text and the story is going. The flow of the prose is driven and powerful, every word and sentence forcefully leading the reader to the next paragraph, the next page. It almost leaves you breathless but at the same time, you want more and it is impossible to put the book down.
Thankfully, Shepherd has stayed true to the Stoker, Le Fanu-esque vampire, and has used traditional tropes of 19th century literature to convey mood and meaning. Shepherd has also incorporated medical science developments from the time as plausible explanations for some of the mythological factors.
I felt the conclusion was a little understated but in hindsight, I think it was perfect. I can’t wait to see what Lynn comes up with next.