THE FRIGHTENED MAN by Kenneth Cameron
Kirkus Star


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A somber tale of life and death in turn-of-the-century London throws new light on the notorious Ripper murders.

A former farmer, a Civil War veteran, an ex-lawman with an unhappy past, Denton is now a successful author living in a class-conscious society he finds hard to fathom. When ferrety Mr. Mulcahy shows up with a wild tale of seeing Jack the Ripper, Denton dismisses him as a sexual deviant, a nutcase. After Denton is dumped by his mistress that night, he goes on a drinking spree and awakens to a gruesome newspaper story detailing the Ripper-like murder of a young prostitute. Though the police are uninterested, Denton, with a little encouragement from his manservant Atkins and former CID Sgt. Munro, becomes obsessed with the killer of Stella Minter. When Denton and Atkins are attacked by a hefty assailant with a knife, Denton is only spurred on. Because his current manuscript is behind schedule, he scrambles to find the money to pay his bills and fuel his researchers, several women pouring over archives. After a frosty start, he develops a working relationship with Janet Striker of The Society for the Improvement of Wayward Women. Together they hunt through a London growing outward at a furious pace. As they slowly weave the threads of the case together, it approaches a terrifying conclusion.

Cameron (Africa on Film, 1994, etc.) paints a striking portrait of London, and Denton is a hero whose unheroic side only makes his character more appealing.

Pub Date: May 5th, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-312-53896-5
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Dunne/Minotaur
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2009