Friday, May 17, 2013

Murder As A Fine Art by David Morrell

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Obtained from: Netgalley/Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours
Read: May 2, 2013

Thomas De Quincey, infamous for his memoir Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, is the major suspect in a series of ferocious mass murders identical to ones that terrorized London forty-three years earlier. The blueprint for the killings seems to be De Quincey's essay "On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts." Desperate to clear his name but crippled by opium addiction, De Quincey is aided by his devoted daughter Emily and a pair of determined Scotland Yard detectives. In Murder as a Fine Art, David Morrell plucks De Quincey, Victorian London, and the Ratcliffe Highway murders from history. Fogbound streets become a battleground between a literary star and a brilliant murderer, whose lives are linked by secrets long buried but never forgotten.

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A few weeks ago a friend came over for dinner and seeing me sprawled out on our couch, book in hand, astutely asked what I was reading. A slow smile crept across my lips as I considered my response. I had to be careful. I was hanging on every word of the deliciously dark historic thriller, in love with every lurid detail, but how best to explain my enthusiasm for a book on sadistic serial killer left me in a bit of fix. The book in question was David Morrell's Murder as a Fine Art.

Now, having finished the piece and struggling to do it justice in a review, I find myself in much in the same position. Should I gush over the historic details that placed me square on the gas lit cobbles of nineteenth century England? Should I exclaim over his wonderfully dynamic if flawed and morally ambiguous cast? Or should I just bow to Morrell's genius as the author of such a titillating, white-knuckle opus? Quite a quandary, is it not?  

Admittedly, I loved the story, but I can't get over the feel of this piece. I have no knowledge of the research that went into its creation, but I'm convinced Morrell exerted considerable effort in this regard. Cover to cover I merely had to close my eyes and I was there, right there on the dingy streets of Victorian London, trailing the sweet smelling coat tails of Thomas De Quincey. I'll grant I have a rather vivid imagination, but even so, I found the period descriptions in this piece a particular treat.  

palatably rich meditation of evil, plush with historic detail, dark and dangerous as the Victorian slums, Murder as a Fine Art is a brilliantly crafted, fast-paced, must read murder mystery.   

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Does a great work of art require a great subject? Does the murder of a queen create a grander impact than that of a common person? No. The goal of the art of murder is pity and terror. 
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Check out all the stops on David Morrell's Murder as a fine art virtual book tour

Monday, May 6
Review at Sir Read-a-Lot
Review & Giveaway at Luxury Reading
Tuesday, May 7
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time
Thursday, May 9
Review & Giveaway at Book Addict Katie
Guest Post at The Lit Bitch
Friday, May 10
Review at The Lit Bitch
Monday, May 13
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Tuesday, May 14
Review & Giveaway at A Bookish Affair
Interview & Giveaway at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Wednesday, May 15
Review at Confessions of an Avid Reader
Thursday, May 16
Review at Impressions in Ink
Guest Post at Confessions of an Avid Reader
Friday, May 17
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Monday, May 20
Review at Unabridged Chick
Tuesday, May 21
Review & Giveaway at The Maiden’s Court
Interview & Giveaway at Unabridged Chick
Wednesday, May 22
Review at Peeking Between the Pages
Interview at A Bookish Libraria
Thursday, May 23
Review at Bibliophilic Book Blog
Friday, May 24
Review at JulzReads
Monday, May 27
Review at From the TBR Pile
Tuesday, May 28
Review at My Reader’s Block
Review & Giveaway at My Reading Room
Wednesday, May 29
Review at nomadreader
Review & Interview at Layered Pages
Thursday, May 30
Review at Girl Lost in a Book
Review at The Little Reader Library
Friday, May 31
Review & Giveaway at Psychotic State Book Reviews
Monday, June 3
Review at As I Turn the Pages
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee
Tuesday, June 4
Review at Kinx’s Book Nook
Review at The True Book Addict
Wednesday, June 5
Review at Peppermint, Ph.D.
Interview & Giveaway at The True Book Addict
Thursday, June 6
Review at The Bookworm
Friday, June 7
Review at Raging Bibliomania

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