The Diabolical Miss Hyde by Viola Carr
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
“In London, we've got murderers by the dozen. Rampsmen, garroters, wife beaters and baby farmers, poisoners and pie makers and folk who’ll crack you over the noddle with a ha’penny cosh for the sake of your flashy watch chain and leave your meat for the rats. Never mind what you read in them penny dreadfuls: there ain’t no romance in murder.
But every now and again, we gets us an artist.”
If you've read my pre-review, you'd know that I was really excited for this book (see below of you haven't). And not only was I excited, but I also had high expectations. When those two things get combined, the odds of being disappointed are high. Good thing I am not disappointed, because I got all I wanted.
Eliza Jekyll is a crime scene investigator. She has helped to capture many murderers and now she has a most interesting and gruesome case—the case of “the Chopper.” All the victims he killed have many things in common. Let's say, he leaves his signature in all of their bodies. In all the corpses were traces of an electrical weapon of some sorts, all were drugged before being murdered... and all of them are missing limbs.
But Eliza Jekyll is not only that. She's also the daughter of the famous Henry Jekyll. You know him, don't you? He's the man who split himself in two halves—one good, one bad—and tried to get rid of his bad half—Edward Hyde. Just as him, Eliza has a bad half, and her name is Lizzie Hyde. Both of them are completely different.
First, there's Eliza. She's what one would call a “proper woman,” in the Victorian standards. She's intelligent, witty, observant, calm and she takes meticulous care of her reputation, because she doesn't want to end like her father. She's a little shy and she's afraid of showing the world what she really is and what she thinks.
And then, there's Lizzie. If you've read The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, you can probably guess how she is, but if you haven't, then I'll tell you: She's impulsive, reckless, uncontainable, seductive and selfish. Not only that, but she also doesn't give a damn about what people think of her.
The book is not just a mystery novel. It's also about the struggles of a girl fighting her inner demons and her struggles in trying to be a respectable physician and detective in a time in which women were not taken seriously for this things. It was by no means a perfect book, but it was cleverly done.
The writing is also good. I had some complaints about it (oh, my), but I let them pass. It follows two formats: One is in an omniscient way, and that one is present whenever Eliza is present; the other one is in first person and is narrated by Lizzie. Both feel different, but I liked them. There's plenty use of slang (mostly Lizzie's) and scientific terms, but that didn't make it less enjoyable. If anything, it made me like it better.
You have to pay attention to all details if you want to figure out who the murderer is before the answer is revealed because there are plenty of suspects and there are more details than grains of sand.
Needless to say, I liked all the characters. Neither of them were perfect. They all had their flaws, and that made me like them even more. Perfect characters can be boring, and these ones were far from that. Besides, they were all really intriguing and they all had interesting backstories.
Twist after twist after another twist, this books managed to be liked by me. I'm hard to please, so that should tell you something. It's thrilling, dark at some points, it had two—no, three—kick-ass women, it's a crime novel... Completely enjoyable for me.
Oh, and one more thing: THIS IS NOT A PARANORMAL ROMANCE MASQUERADING AS A CRIME/MYSTERY BOOK! There, I've said it. With just that (and all of the above), you know that this is highly recommended. I'll most certainly read the sequel if this is indeed a series and not a stand-alone.
Whoa, whoa, whoa...
Reasons why I want to read this book:
1. A Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde retelling: Why not? I love that book. It's dark, and really interesting. One of my favorite books of all time.
2. "In an electric-powered Victorian London (...)": Victorian London is given for dark and mysterious tales.
3. "Dr. Eliza Jekyll is a crime scene investigator, hunting killers with inventive new technological gadgets (...)": You tell me what part of that doesn't sound amazing. Crime scene investigator? Yes, please. And also, she's a chick. The odds of her being kick-ass are high.
4. DA COVERRRR: C'mon, you can't deny it's awesome.
I AM EXCITE!
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