I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence and Mature Situations. The story is set in the 1880s and present day. The primary character in the 1880’s portion is the well known author Robert Louis Stevenson. The modern portion of the story centers on environmental scientist Rafael Salazar.
For Stevenson, the story begins with his journey to a Swiss clinic for treatment of his tuberculosis. The doctor is a bit odd and the treatment strange, though effective. Stevenson discovers that the medication he is being given comes from an astonishing and sickening source. He also finds himself altered when he takes the medication.
Salazar is studying coyotes in California. His efforts at both his research and love life are hampered by a local gang and their followers. While trying to track his coyotes, he discovers an old trunk that had been submerged in a pond until the drought hit. Inside the trunk he discovers an old journal. The journal proves to be Sevenson’s.
Stevenson is able to publish several works after his hospital stay, including ’The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’. As a play based on the book opens in London, Jack the Ripper begins his terror. The similarity to Stevenson’s Hyde draws the attention of Scotland Yard. Stevenson must evade several dangerous situations and eventually discovers the identity of The Ripper.
Salazar must evade one dangerous situation after another. Though his work is under scrutiny and his grant may be cancelled at any moment, he continues to follow his coyotes. He also reads, and is astonished by, the tale Stevenson has recorded.
I thought that the 10.5 hours I spent with this 493 page novel were interesting. There was some action, but for the most part this was a book on the slow side. I guess that Mystery categorizes this better than any other tag, with a bit of Horror and Science Fiction thrown in. I liked the way Stevenson and Salazar were presented, though I think more could have been done with the Salazar character. The cover art is OK, but doesn’t really give any insight to the story. I give this novel a 3.5 (rounded up to a 4) out of 5.
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