By gaslight / Steven Price.

London, 1885. Three years before the Whitechapel killings, London is a city of fog and darkness. A severed head is dredged from the Thames; ten miles away, a woman's body is discovered on Edgeware Road. The famed American detective William Pinkerton is summoned by Scotland Yard to investigate. The d...

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Main Author: Price, Steven, 1976-
Published: [Toronto] : McClelland & Stewart, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited, a Penguin Random House Company, 2016.
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Review by Booklist Review

A postmodern take on noir mysteries, Price's second novel caps out at more than 700 pages, dragging the astounded reader through a gaslight-era global chase that can only be described as labyrinthine. The hero-detective, William Pinkerton, son of the more famous Allan, suffers an inferiority complex and is driven to continue his father's unsuccessful search for Edward Shade, the aptly named villain of the story. Adam Foole, trickster and thief, leads William and the police through London's befogged underbelly sticky sewers, blood-soaked basements, and decapitated heads floating in the Thames. That underbelly and its attendant gore provide the book's thematic focal point and the main clue to Shade's identity. The real highlight of the novel, though, is the mesmerizing writing style, which is difficult to decipher but lyrically rewarding and intensely evocative of setting and character. Intense, frustrating, and magical, this fragmented, paradoxical suspense story will appeal to particular readers who love Dickens or who relish the complexities of Martin Seay's The Mirror Thief (2016) and David Mitchell's The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet (2010).--Baker, Jen Copyright 2016 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Price's elegantly written, vividly evoked second novel (after Into That Darkness) marries historical suspense with literary sophistication. In 1885 London, a woman's dismembered body is identified as that of Charlotte Reckitt, a longtime grifter for whom two very different men are searching. William Pinkerton, the 39-year-old son of American detective-agency-founder Allan Pinkerton, is struggling to accept his larger-than-life father's recent death. Along with the agency, he has inherited the elder Pinkerton's obsession with Edward Shade, an elusive master criminal his father could never apprehend. Having received a letter from Reckitt requesting his help, thief and confidence man Adam Foole hopes to reunite with Charlotte, the lover he lost 10 years before but hasn't forgotten. Both men are obsessed with getting to the bottom of Charlotte's apparent demise: Pinkerton because he believed she could lead him to Shade, Foole because he harbored tender longings for her. As the two circle each other, each probes his own past and both realize they are more similar, and more closely connected, than they believed. With its intricate cat-and-mouse game, array of idiosyncratic characters, and brooding atmosphere, By Gaslight has much to please fans of both classic suspense and Victorian fiction. Yet Price's novel is entirely contemporary, and assuredly his own: a sweeping tale of hunter and hunted in which the most-dangerous pursuer is always the human heart. (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Review by Library Journal Review

The immersive grandeur and gravity of Price's (Into That Darkness) sophomore novel might answer the literary cognoscenti question: "Where are today's Dickenses, -Radcliffes, and Twains?" The prismatic narrative chronicles the life of William Pinkerton-one of the first private detectives-called by Scotland Yard to Victorian London to track con artist Edward Shade. With a mercurial persona and a relentless brilliance that eluded his father, Alan, founder of the Pinkerton Detective Agency, Pinkerton is also the equal to Shade's violence and cunning. Concurrent with the detective's arrival, Adam Foole and pre-teen Molly ship to London after a missive from Foole's lost love, Charlotte Reckitt, but learn the woman was gruesomely murdered-or was she? Powered by an enigmatic connection among the Pinkertons, Shade, Foole (who might know Shade's true identity), Reckitt, and her jailed father, the story moves from the U.S. Civil War to South Africa's diamond mines, from the American West to foggy London's excrement-reeking streets. Price's naturalism is unsentimental, adding verisimilitude to a book already thrumming with emotional and psychological realism. VERDICT The author's blend of quest, grief, betrayal, and the mysteries of identity will appeal to readers of literary crime fiction. [See Prepub Alert, 4/25/16; library marketing.]-William Grabowski, McMechen, WV © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.