(Shades of London #1)
The day Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London marks a memorable occasion. For Rory, it’s the start of a new life at a London boarding school. But for many, this will be remembered as the day a series of brutal murders broke out across the city – gruesome crimes mimicking the horrific work of Jack the Ripper in the autumn of 1888. Soon “Rippermania” takes hold of modern-day London, and the police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man police believe to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him. Even her roommate, who was with her at the time, didn’t notice the mysterious man. So why can only Rory see him? And more urgently, what is he planning to do about her?
In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, full of suspense, humor, and romance, Rory will learn the truth about the secret ghost police of London and discover her own shocking abilities.
Tea: Sweet vs. Earl Grey
One of the things I found most interesting in the set up of this book is that Maureen Johnson isolates her main character from the get go. As a laid-back, Southern girl in up-tight prep-school London, Rory sticks out like a sore thumb. While she’s able to integrate herself somewhat and make friends with her roommate, Jazza, and a sort-of-maybe boyfriend, Jerome, she still continues to stand out, and not in a way she enjoys.
Then she realizes there’s something REALLY different about her…
Enter the Ghost Police
I absolutely LOVED this part of the story! So it turns out that there’s this whole, super secret segment of the London police that deal with ghosts! And these were, by far, my favorite characters in the book!
First, there’s Stephan: the uptight, young constable. For anyone who’s ever fallen in love with the quiet, reserved English type. Stephan’s your man. Honestly, I don’t know WHAT Rory saw in Jerome when she had Stephan right in front of her!! Fortunately the romance with Jerome can easily be written out in favor of Stephan in book two. *hint, hint*
Then there’s Callum: think Tony from Love Actually, only more surly. And when you read about his back-story. Well….let’s just say, I’d hate ghosts too!!!
Finally, there’s Boo. Well, technically, it’s Bouvana, but don’t call her that! (I apologize if I misspelled this, I listened to the audiobook). She comes in to protect Rory after she’s seen something compromising in the Ripper investigation. And she’s BRILLIANT! Sassy and snarky, tough and yet a totally sweetheart, Boo stole the scenes she was in handily!
And what they do… well, it’s pretty amazing
The main plot point in this book, though, is the mystery around Jack the Ripper, both the historical figure (you KNOW I love my some historical fiction!) and the modern-day copy-cat. And I’ll admit that the mystery is FANTASTIC!! I loved how Ms. Johnson kept me on the edge of my seat, even getting me all kinds of freaked out over the possibilities of who the Ripper was and just how they were going to stop him.
Maureen Johnson walks the line between fascination and horror with this part of the story expertly. I was drawn in and repelled at the same time, but it’s handled with such a deft touch that it leaves the reader breathless with anticipation rather than smeared in gore. No small task when covering one of the world’s most gruesome murders!
The Adventure Continues?
I absolutely loved the climax of this book. It tied things together while leaving just enough open for another book and I’m eagerly awaiting the next installment where (even though there’s no synopsis available for it yet) Rory will ditch Jerome, snatch up Stephan and they’ll chase down the ghosts of King Henry VIII’s wives, because let’s face it: those ladies have a LOT of grudges to hold against the men in their lives!
If this book looks familiar to you, you’re right! Heather reviewed it last year right before it came out! Definitely check out her thoughts on the book as she’s a true Maureen Johnson fan!
In a funny side note, I was first introduced to this book last year at BEA. Heather had to leave before the book was up for signing but she made me swear on my children (seriously, the look I got was intense!) that I would get her a signed copy! When I told Ms. Johnson the story and how Heather might have to kill me if I didn’t get her the book, she wrote a very cute inscription on Heather’s copy, which you can see here.
And…speaking of BEA….are you going? If so, let me know because a whopping FOUR bookworms will be in attendance this year and we’d LOVE to meet up with you. And since we’re verterans (yes, attending once now makes us veterans, nice, ‘eh?), we’ve got a sweet feature coming up next month so keep your eyes peeled for that. *cough*give-away involved? *cough* 😀
Get your own Audiobook at audible: The Name of the Star (unabridged, 9hrs 50 min)
So you know my favorite way to consume books these days is in audio format and this one was EXCEPTIONAL!! I loved Nicola Barber’s narration, which went from Southern twang to British clip seemlessly! If you’re a fan of the medium, definitely pick this one up in audio!!!