Thursday, April 2, 2015

INSPECTOR OF THE DEAD by David Morrell (Review plus Giveaway)

Publication Date: March 24, 2015
Mulholland Books Hardcover; 342p
ISBN: 9780316323932
Genre: Historical Mystery
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David Morrell’s MURDER AS A FINE ART was a publishing event. Acclaimed by critics, it made readers feel that they were actually on the fogbound streets of Victorian London. Now the harrowing journey continues in INSPECTOR OF THE DEAD. Thomas De Quincey, infamous for his Confessions of an Opium-Eater, confronts London's harrowing streets to thwart the assassination of Queen Victoria. The year is 1855. The Crimean War is raging. The incompetence of British commanders causes the fall of the English government. The Empire teeters. Amid this crisis comes opium-eater Thomas De Quincey, one of the most notorious and brilliant personalities of Victorian England. Along with his irrepressible daughter, Emily, and their Scotland Yard companions, Ryan and Becker, De Quincey finds himself confronted by an adversary who threatens the heart of the nation. This killer targets members of the upper echelons of British society, leaving with each corpse the name of someone who previously attempted to kill Queen Victoria. The evidence indicates that the ultimate victim will be Victoria herself. As De Quincey and Emily race to protect the queen, they uncover long-buried secrets and the heartbreaking past of a man whose lust for revenge has destroyed his soul. Brilliantly merging historical fact with fiction, Inspector of the Dead is based on actual attempts to assassinate Queen Victoria.


The publicist is offering a copy of INSPECTOR OF THE DEAD to a lucky follower of this blog. Please, join Mina's Bookshelf (via GFC, Google+, Twitter, Facebook), leave a comment in the section below, and kindly include your email address. The contest is open to US residents only.


For those of us who have been knowing David Morrell solely as the author of contemporary, suspense-filled American novels (the successful "Rambo" film-franchise is based on one of his novels, First Blood), it may come as a surprise to learn that he is also an incredibly accomplished writer of historical fiction. His first period piece, Murder As A Fine Art (Thomas De Quincey #1, Mullholland Books, 2013) was hailed as an "exceptional historical mystery" - and with good reason.

What doesn't amaze, though, is that Morrell translated all his undisputed command of the thriller-crime fiction genre to a setting so distant in time and place: Victorian England. And that is the mark of a true genius. Morrell's flair for sophisticated, plot-driven storylines makes of him the Master of the High Action Thriller, no matter the turf. His second foray into the murky atmosphere of a 1850s London mystery (Inspector Of The Dead, Thomas De Quincey #2) is a brilliant combination of nail-biting suspense, grotesque characters, sensational crimes, and vile motivations.

The fact that historical setup and scenography  are rendered with a profusion of meticulously researched references to the Victorian Era, with its landmarks, icons, social mores and fashions, adds one more enticing and atmospheric layer to this riveting and erudite piece of fiction. The seedy underbelly of a post-Crimean War London, in stark contrast with  the splendor and grandeur of the British Empire, offers a darkly fascinating backdrop for Morrell's detective story. The characterization of the lead man, Thomas De Quincey, is impeccable: his laudanum-enhanced intellect and drug-induced speculations are finely complemented by a host of secondary cast (his "emancipated" and unconventional daughter, Emily; the Scotland Yard detectives, Ryan and Becker) and historical figures that come to life through convincing dialogues, well-paced scenes, and plausible connections between real facts and clever twists of imagination. Kudos to Morrell also for creating such a nuanced, complex, and memorable villain: the darkness of his soul and the depth of his inner conflicts are portrayed with great emotional intelligence. The final effect is absolutely heart-wrenching. Oddly enough, I hope we will be able to read more about him in future installments of the series. 

The use of a shifting POV (the formula is a relay of third person omniscient narration and first person diary entries) is a bit unusual, but well-executed. The story threads unwind in a riveting succession of action scenes and narrating parts that made it nearly impossible for me to put the book down. 5 stars!

***Review copy generously provided by the publicist in exchange for an unbiased and honest opinion

Praise for Inspector of the Dead

“Riveting! I literally thought I was in 1855 London. With this mesmerizing series, David Morrell doesn’t just delve into the world of Victorian England—he delves into the heart of evil, pitting one man’s opium-skewed brilliance against a society where appearances are everything, and the most vicious killers lurk closer than anyone thinks.” —Lisa Gardner, New York Times bestselling author of Crash & Burn and The Perfect Husband What the Victorian Experts Say: “Even better than Murder as a Fine Art. A truly atmospheric and dynamic thriller. I was fascinated by how Morrell seamlessly blended elements from Thomas De Quincey’s life and work. The solution is a complete surprise.” —Grevel Lindop, The Opium-Eater: A Life of Thomas De Quincey “The scope is remarkable. Florence Nightingale, the Crimean War, regicide, the railways, opium, the violence and despair of the London rookeries, medical and scientific innovations, arsenic in the food and clothing—all this makes the Victorian world vivid. The way Morrell depicts Thomas De Quincey places him in front of us, living and breathing. But his daughter Emily is in many ways the real star of the book.” —Robert Morrison, The English Opium-Eater: A Biography of Thomas De Quincey “I absolutely raced through it and couldn’t bear to put it down. I particularly liked how the very horrible crimes are contrasted with the developing, fascinating relationship between Thomas De Quincey and his daughter, Emily, who come across as extremely real. It was altogether a pleasure.” —Judith Flanders, The Invention of Murder: How the Victorians Reveled in Death and Detection and Created Modern Crime

Buy the Book

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About the Author

03_David Morell ©_Jennifer_Esperanza

David Morrell is an Edgar, Nero, Anthony, and Macavity nominee as well as a recipient of the prestigious career-achievement Thriller Master away from the International Thriller Writers. His numerous New York Times bestsellers include the classic espionage novel. The Brotherhood of the Rose, the basis for the only television mini-series to be broadcast after a Super Bowl. A former literature professor at the University of Iowa, Morrell has a PhD from Pennsylvania State University. His latest novel is INSPECTOR OF THE DEAD, a sequel to his highly acclaimed Victorian mystery/thriller, Murder as a Fine Art, which Publishers Weekly called ”one of the top ten mystery/thrillers of 2013.” For more information visit David Morrell's website. You can also connect with him on Facebook and Twitter.

Inspector of the Dead Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, March 24
Review at Unabridged Chick
Excerpt at Boom Baby Reviews
Wednesday, March 25
Review at Back Porchervations
Interview & Giveaway at Unabridged Chick
Thursday, March 26
Review at JulzReads
Friday, March 27
Review & Excerpt at Jorie Loves a Story I
nterview at JulzReads
Monday, March 30
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book
Spotlight at Tales of a Book Addict
Tuesday, March 31
Interview & Excerpt at Oh, For the Hook of a Book
Wednesday, April 1
Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book
Guest Post at Mina's Bookshelf
Thursday, April 2
Review at Build a Bookshelf
Review & Giveaway at Mina's Bookshelf
Friday, April 3
Review at Peppermint, Ph.D.
Monday, April 6
Review & Giveaway at To Read, or Not to Read
Excerpt & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books
Tuesday, April 7
Review at Book Lovers Paradise
Wednesday, April 8
Interview at Back Porchervations
Spotlight & Giveaway at Words and Peace
Thursday, April 9
Review & Giveaway at 100 Pages a Day - Stephanie's Book Reviews
Friday, April 10
Review at Layered Pages
Review, Excerpt & Giveaway at Drey's Library
Monday, April 13
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Tuesday, April 14
Interview at Flashlight Commentary
Wednesday, April 15
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time
Thursday, April 16
Review at Editing Pen
Review at Luxury Reading
Review at The Maiden's Court
Friday, April 17
Guest Post & Giveaway at Editing Pen
Monday, April 20
Review & Giveaway at A Literary Vacation
Tuesday, April 21
Review at A Book Geek
Review at Books and Benches
Wednesday, April 22
Spotlight at Historical Fiction Connection
Thursday, April 23
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Friday, April 24
Review & Giveaway at The True Book Addict

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  1. A captivating novel, fabulous story, great era and locale and a wonderful author whose novels I have enjoyed greatly. Thanks for this great giveaway and feature. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  2. Loved Murder as aFine Art.twitter Follower @rhondareads.

  3. Thank you for the giveaway! I follow you on facebook. jtretin at aol dot com

  4. I love the mystery of the cover........
    thank you for the giveaway........

    cyn209 at juno dot com

  5. Excited for this giveaway!

  6. Thank you for the chance to win this book. I am a fan of historical mysteries. griperang at embarqmail dot com