Review: ‘Ruler of the Night’ by David Morrell

Ruler of the Night by David Morrell
Mulholland Books (November 2016)
352 pages; $17.70 hardcover; $13.99 e-book
Reviewed by Dave Simms

What can one say about the conclusion of a terrific trilogy from one of the masters of horror and thrillers, besides wow? Many fans are still marveling that David Morrell, Rambo’s father and author of the classic dark novels The Totem, Creepers, and Testament, embarked on a ride back into the Victorian Age, giving birth to yet another enigmatic character in Thomas DeQuincey (the real life Opium Eater) who in real life penned several stories and essays which directly influenced Edgar Allan Poe.

The first two books, Murder As a Fine Art and Inspector of the Dead, brought Morrell several new fans from many of the genres in which he writes and proved that the awards he’s amassed from the Stokers and International Thriller Writers are well deserved. His England is near perfect in its bleakness, the blood-thick fog, and details which surround the reader in this stifling, yet fascinating world.

In 1855, the Opium Eater and his daughter, Emily, discover a murder victim on a cross country train, the first ever by rail. The victim had been locked tight in his cabin, yet the act was carried out, just as bloody and wrenching as can be. Upon their return to London, they reconnect with the duo of Detective Ryan and his trainee, Becker, who are enlisted to track down the killer on the streets of London.  

Each character is fully fleshed out in this novel, just as they have been in the previous two entries. DeQuincey is utterly fascinating; it’s easy to see how he had a strong effect on the detective skills of Poe’s characters, along with the self-destructive behaviors which threaten to send him into the abyss.

Here’s hoping Morrell someday revisits this dark world and his next book contains as much mystery and horror. Recommended for any of his fans—along with anyone who loves a strong, dark thriller.

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