Thanks to NetGalley and 47North for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: November 8th, 2016
Synopsis: While on a routine patrol in the tinder-dry Topanga Canyon, environmental scientist Rafael Salazar expects to find animal poachers, not a dilapidated antique steamer trunk. Inside the peculiar case, he discovers a journal, written by the renowned Robert Louis Stevenson, which divulges ominous particulars about his creation of “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.” It also promises to reveal a terrible secret–the real identity of Jack the Ripper.
Unfortunately, the journal–whose macabre tale unfolds in an alternating narrative with Rafe’s–isn’t the only relic in the trunk, and Rafe isn’t the only one to purloin a souvenir. A mysterious flask containing the last drops of the grisly potion that inspired Jekyll and Hyde and spawned London’s most infamous killer has gone missing. And it’s definitely fallen into the wrong hands.
Argh! There was so much I LOVED about this book, but there were problems with it that try as I might, I just couldn’t ignore. After much deliberating this is why I finally decided on the bizarre rating of 3.75 stars. First, I found the premise just too good to resist. A story combining Jack the Ripper, Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, and Robert Louis Stevenson? For me, this was the literary equivalent of a box of Godiva chocolates. The story alternates between the past with Stevenson, and the present with Rafe. The historical chapters which are Stevenson’s journal entries, are absolutely brilliant and mix fact with fiction. They begin by focusing on Stevenson’s struggle with tuberculosis which lead him down a dark path which eventually leads him to write The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and to cross paths with the notorious Jack the Ripper. When I was reading the journal entries I was completely captivated. The settings of a health clinic in Switzerland, the foggy gaslit streets of Victorian London and finally a South Pacific paradise are beautifully detailed, and Robert Masello does an outstanding job of bringing to life one of my favorite childhood authors. My problem was with the present day chapters involving Rafe. He is a likable character, but for chapters on end there’s little development with his story. By the time I was midway through the book, I was basically skimming his sections. I honestly think if the author had completely cut out his story and simply made this an historical fiction thriller, it would have been a perfect read. That all said, I still found this an imaginative and enjoyable read. I was already a fan of Robert Masello’s and The Jekyll Revelation just proved to me why I always look forward to a new book by him. I think anyone who is intrigued by the mystery of Jack the Ripper, and is a fan of Robert Louis Stevenson and in particular The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, will enjoy this book.