Review Masking the Truth – Max Parker

A VICIOUS KILLER Join East India Company Agent Andrew Green and Bow Street Runner Scarlett Pembridge as they hunt down a brutal murderer in 1840’s London. The opening chapter of the Green & Scarlett series arrives with MASKING THE TRUTH, a shocking tale of murder, corruption and revenge. A SPY AT HOME The Opium War has just broken out, and Agent Green is no longer required in China. Reassigned to a post inside of London’s burgeoning Metropolitan Police force, Green finds that many of the injustices he helped to create have now landed on his home city’s doorstep. When the Met’s lead detective throws Agent Green in at the deep end, his investigation into the city’s opium smugglers will put him at odds with the one and only Scarlett Pembridge, Bow Street Runner and London’s top bounty hunter. A TANGLED WEB Can a conflicted Police Constable and a determined Bow Street Runner set aside their differences to catch a killer and dismantle a shadowy drug ring? How far will Agent Green be willing to go to prevent interference in Company business? Can Scarlett resolve questions of humanity and justice when she discovers the killer’s shocking motive?

A Victorian London murder mystery on Netgalley? Of course I am going to request it!!

In this book we follow Scarlett and Green. Green works for the East India Company and has spent the last 10 years in China setting up the opium trade. Now he is tasked to infiltrate the London police force to investigate the opium smugglers back home. Scarlett is a Bow Street Runner, a mix between a private detective and bounty hunter, and on the case to find the Matchstick Mangler. This serial killer slashes up the faces of their victims and putch matchsticks in their eyes. And of course these two cases collide and Green and Scarlett have to work together.

We have alternating chapters following the two main characters, which does a great job of shining a different light on the case. Both come from a very different background, have different goals and critique the other’s ways of working. Scarlett isn’t intersted in settling down, she wants to fight for a cause. And her father (leader of the Runners) has trained her well. He has taught her how to protect herself, and subtlety does not come into play with that. She also doesn’t think of consequences. Questioning the witness/villain be damned, she will never hesitate to shoot. Something isn’t always very helpfull and tends to get her into trouble…

This isn’t so much a mystery novel. There are no puzzle pieces to slot into place. It is fairly clear who the killer is, and at some point we just start to get chapters from their point of view. This does help to set the atmosphere in the book though, which is dark and creepy. There is a high level of mutilations and gore in this, so be aware of that. It also helps us understand why the killer became the way they are now. They have suffered a great deal and we get why they are doing what they are. They are also completely deranged and mentally unstable though. I personally loved this, and it helped fill the whole left by Alex Grecian’s Jack the Ripper (Scotland Yard’s Murder Squad series). I may have some issues…

I put the fun in funeral. I put the laughter in manslaughter. I put the hot  in psychotic. --- Sherlock Mo… | Sherlock funny, Funny women quotes,  Married woman quote

One issue I had with the book though is that there is an important event that happens off-page, one that is never really discussed but it’s consequences are mentioned and are crucial to the plot. This made me feel lost, as if I had missed a chapter, or even a whole book, not knowing what was going on. I don’t know if this is resolved in the final copy of the book though.

This was a book that kinda took me by surprise with its darkness. And I loved it. It really was the messed up serial killer story that I craved, whilst also making us feel for the them. This is definitly a series I will be continuing.

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