Sunday, October 29, 2017

Review: By Gaslight

This was an interesting read for me - and lost a star due to the one thing that irked me throughout - the lack of punctuation, especially for dialogue.  Moving past that, "By Gaslight" by Steven Price is the story of one man's quest to track down "the one that got away" is worth pursuing to the end (and its a long book).

London 1885: Billy Pinkerton - ".. a man without weakness, a man without pity .." - US Civil War veteran and son of the founder of Pinkerton's Detective Agency, is on the trail of a woman who is the accomplice of notorious criminal, Edward Shade. Pinkerton hopes to use this woman to lead him to Edward Shade, who has alluded his grasp, and that of his father's for some time.  The woman's ex-lover, one Adam Foole, also uses Pinkerton for his own dark purpose which is as shady as the shadow Pinkerton is chasing.

The narrative alternates between the present, London 1885, and the past, told in flashback and in no sequential order.  Not all is as it initially seems and we trudge the gas-lit streets of Victorian London in search of clarity to a secret that has a past betrayal at its very heart.

As mentioned, the lack of punctuation at times rendered that very good storytelling a little hard to follow, especially with a book of this length.  The flashbacks and flash-forwards, some of which seem irrelevant and unnecessary at the time, eventually coalesce and slowly a tale is spun that links them together, and reveals a secret that has its roots firmly planted in events of the US Civil War.

Could this be labelled noir fiction ...?  I was often reminded of the hero / nemesis catch and mouse game of Holmes and Moriarty, and where the lines of good and evil are often blurred.   I wonder how the story would have panned out in two tomes rather than the one .....

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