Alex Grecian’s The Yard takes place in 1889, and over a three-day period, detectives in Scotland Yard ‘s Murder Squad pursue a new type of criminal: the serial killer.
I enjoy historical novels, and I love historical novels–especially historical novels that deal with the beginnings of organized police work and forensics. I really get into these types of stories when the setting is New York City or London. I discovered and fell in love with this sub-genre of the historical novel (historical fiction mystery/thriller) when I read Caleb Carr’s The Alienist and The Angel of Darkness, so I eagerly picked up The Yard.
The Yard is an okay book. I enjoyed the Scotland Yard and London settings. Most of the characters were likable. Grecian provides plenty of appropriate humor and some of the characters have interesting backgrounds. However, unlike many other historical mystery/thriller books I have read since Carr’s novels, Grecian’s The Yard isn’t that deep. I couldn’t get lost in 1889 London the way I could get lost in Caleb Carr’s books.
Grecian provides plenty of grisly detail and there’s enough close calls and subplots to keep The Yard a page turner. Everything fits together in this historical thriller and there aren’t too many dead ends. Grecian uses one of these dead ends to give the reader information about the killer’s motives and overall psychological state.
I expected a more cerebral, more muti-layered book to lose myself in. However, that was just my expectation because most historical thrillers that I have read have a more intellectual puzzle type challenge to it. If you’re looking for a thriller set in 1889 London that doesn’t have a deep intellectual slant, but that’s heavy on action, Alex Grecian’s The Yard is a good choice.