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The Candle Man

The Candle Man - Alex Scarrow Regardless of how gruesome the photos (which actually still exist on the web), or the details of his horrific actions, our culture is taken by the elusive story of “Jack the Ripper”. Perhaps it is the constant mystery; the fear of an unsolved case with plenty of proof, and yet, at the same time, so little. Perhaps it is the fact that we know, if this were to have happened in modern day, advanced science and DNA testing would have greatly increased the likelihood that this man, women or group of people would be behind bars. Though all the possibilities are speculative, the truth remains that our minds fill in the gaps of what the officials could not find. And this is exactly how Alex Scarrow builds his thrilling tale, THE CANDLE MAN.The novel begins with Mr. Larkin, an aging man with cancer, speaking with a muscle-diseased young woman as the Titanic slowly sinks below the Atlantic Ocean. Both man and woman know that their inevitable fate almost guarantees their demise on the boat, and so they choose to share a drink together. As the young girl giggles from the drink, she asks Mr. Larkin if he has anything he would like to share before he meets his untimely death. And so the story unfolds.For the entirety of the novel, Mr. Larkin’s identity within the story remains a mystery, however we know he is one of several men involved in an extremely high-profile and convoluted case. Scarrow weaves together intricate pieces to make a story which exudes such power and illustrates raw writing talent. This was a complete page-turner, with surprises behind every dark corner. His imagery of the Gothic Victorian scenery made the whole story play out on the streets of London in my mind. I could feel the moisture on the wet cobblestone roads and smell the dank stench of uncleanliness lurking in back alleys and in old run-down pubs.This book was such an exhilarating read! My first Scarrow novel, but most definitely not my last. This is also my first Victorian thriller and all I can think of is “how did I not try this before?!” With picturesque scenes, an abundance of secrets and more than enough suspense to keep you reading into the wee hours of the morning, this book seemed to have it all. Plus, who would have thought to intertwine two of the most debated catastrophes of the time into one story?! Bravo, Alex Scarrow, bravo!