Murder by Sarah Pinborough

Posted On 29 July 2015

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Murder was one of my books that I’ve had for a while waiting to be read and I’m so pleased that I finally made the time to pick it up.  It’s such a good book.  Really, I don’t think I’ll be able to heap enough praise on it although i’ll certainly give it a good try.  Let the gushing commence!

Murder is the second book in a series by Sarah Pinborough, a series that started with a creepy and dark first instalment called Mayhem.  I think this could be read as a standalone to be honest although I would recommend reading the first in order to get the full measure of the characters involved.  And, if you haven’t read Mayhem then this review will undoubtedly contain spoilers so be aware of that before continuing.

The story starts a few years after the conclusion of Mayhem.  Dr Bond is finally beginning to recover from the events that saw the death of Harrington and has managed to convince himself that the strange monster that he thought he saw at the time was nothing more than a drug induced fantasy.  He’s carved out a comfortable lifestyle for himself and managed to become a firm family favourite with Harrington’s widow and son, in fact he harbours strong hopes of making Juliana his wife (in spite of a rather significant age difference).

Unfortunately, however, the past has no intention of lying quietly to one side and past events are about to be raked over when an old friend of Harrington’s from the US (Kane) visits London to pay the good doctor a visit.  He has a bundle of letters that seem almost crazy, written to him by Harrington, and he wants somebody to look them over and see what they make of the whole thing.

I’m actually not going to go into the plot at all other than the above.  Once again Pinborough manages to write a work of fiction bringing to life real people and events from a period of the past that was particularly scary and once again she provides us with what appears to be two murderers.

What did I really like about this book.  The writing.  It’s simply so very good.  Frankly, I’m a pushover for really good writing and so this was an easy win for me.  Every time I opened the pages I sunk into them and became unaware of everything around me.  I was literally like the fly on the wall watching everything happen – and some of it was damned scary enough for me to want to fly away.  SP paints the scene expertly.  She gives details but doesn’t dump, she captures the era perfectly without being a stickler to it and she absolutely succeeds in bringing her characters to life and giving them real emotions.  You are definitely going to feel for these characters and Pinborough will put you through the emotional wringer along with them.  I really didn’t foresee some of the events that took part and I’m not too proud to say that they left me gobsmacked.  There’s also the perfect evocation of a dirty, smoggy, dark and despairing London where evil seems to lurk in the very mist and sink into the pores of the people travelling the streets.

On top of that the characters.  I think Dr Bond is one of the most compelling characters I’ve read for an age and one that I’ve had the most torn feelings over.  His journey into madness and despair is perfectly riveting.  The other characters are equally good and written in a way that builds them up slowly.  Kane for example, I started off mistrusting him and his thoughts in general and in fact finding him a little offensive at first and I think this was really clever because at the back of your mind you start to assign the character other secrets or see something more sinister about them.

I’m going to stop there as I don’t really want to give anything away other than the fact that I really enjoyed this book.  In fact, for me personally, it surpassed Mayhem.

A totally gripping, horrible, nasty, dark and grimy, chill inducing book with twists and turns aplenty and an excellent finish – which even gives me a tiny hope for something more.  Pretty please.

Read it.  That is all.

I’m submitting this for my Backlist Burndown book over at Tenacious Reader and also I’m adding it as one of my completed series (although secretly I am hoping for more!)

19 Responses to “Murder by Sarah Pinborough”

  1. brideofthebookgod

    I was lucky enough to meet Sarah at a reading and I asked her about Murder and Mayhem and she told me they had originally been one long book which her publisher had suggested she split. I also asked if there would be any more (sadly no, though it makes sense really) I loved them both.

    • lynnsbooks

      The ending really is a perfect set up isn’t it! I would definitely read another one. I think her writing is brilliant.
      Lynn 😀

  2. Lisa (@TenaciousReader)

    I was kind of meh about Mayhem, tbh. Sometimes I struggle a bit with crime/mystery books.

    • lynnsbooks

      I liked Mayhem – but I thought Murder was much better. It really gripped me. Not for everyone though.
      Lynn 😀

  3. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    I’m freaking out right now because I loved this book. Mayhem was good, but this one was even better. Hard to really explain how much I enjoyed this without revealing any spoilers, but I was just so impressed at how she managed to combine the historical elements with the paranormal to explain the main character at the end. And the downward spiral into insanity, while being in the character’s perspective. Now that was the best I’ve ever read.

    • lynnsbooks

      It was just an all round really good read. I liked Mayhem but this is definitely so much better. It just has an amazing emotional impact. And the historical elements are brilliant. I love stories that are mixed in with true events like this.
      Lynn 😀

  4. Stephen P. Bianchini

    Very interesting review… Now on my list too!

    • lynnsbooks

      I hope you enjoy it. Mayhem was good, and I did enjoy it – but this one was really good.
      Lynn 😀

  5. jenclair

    This catches my interest; I think I’ll add the first one to my list!

    • lynnsbooks

      I do like Sarah Pinborough. Mayhem is good but Murder is excellent.
      I hope you enjoy them if you get a chance to pick them up.
      Lynn 😀

  6. DJ (@MyLifeMyBooksMyEscape)

    I’ve been wanting to read this series! Since I haven’t read Mayhem yet, I only read the first and last couple paragraphs of your review, but they were enough to win me over! 🙂

    • lynnsbooks

      Excellent. I hope you enjoy. I did prefer the second book which I thought was really good – the first is good too but the second just goes beyond.
      Lynn 😀

  7. maddalena@spaceandsorcery

    I took your advice about spoilers but went instead to your review of “Mayhem”: this is definitely a book I need to read. Thanks for sharing!

    • lynnsbooks

      I hope you enjoy them, they’re both good but Murder is really excellent.
      Lynn 😀

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