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Book Review - "The Harvest Man" by Alex Grecian

The following book review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper.  You can read all of our book reviews by clicking on the Books category link on the right side bar

9780399166440_p0_v2_s260x420The Harvest Man by Alex Grecian portrays Scotland Yard Murder Squad detectives pursuing a violent serial killer.  The main plot has the detectives targeting The Harvest Man, while a secondary plot has detective Walter Day trying to find Jack the Ripper.  These series of books includes a mystery, some historical facts, and explores the new techniques of evidence gathering.

The plot begins where the previous book, The Devil’s Workshop, ends.  Readers new to this series might want to start with the previous book to gain a better understanding of the characters and their motivations.  Regarding the sub-plot Grecian fully explained in The Devil’s Workshop how Jack the Ripper was out for revenge against a group of vigilantes who had captured and tortured him. 

Grecian noted to, “It is a tight ropewalk with every book.  I don’t spell everything out, but try to put in refreshers, especially since there is a year between books.  It is like watching a TV show where in the first minute they recap what went on and then start the new show.” 

The main plot has the antagonist, The Harvest Man, killing and mutilating couples by slicing their faces off.  This sadistic killer is named after the spider that hides in attics and eats the pests.  He enters homes during the day and hides out in the attics until the family retires for the night.  In this installment he has killed the parents of two children, leaving them orphans whom Inspector Day finds and takes home. 

One of the most interesting parts of the book is how the author explores the transition to modern day crime solving.  Introduced are finger printing techniques, roping off of the crime scenes, profiling, and drawing sketches of the culprit.  Grecian incorporates his characters doing these duties:  Walter Day is the profiler, Dr. Kingsley is the CSI, Fiona is the sketch artist, while Nevil Hammersmith is the action hero.  These characters compliment each other with Day (the brains,) Hammersmith (the brawn,) and Kingsley (the conscious.)

But Grecian is of the mindset that no character is safe except Claire.  He explained,   “Partly because I am stubborn and want those who told me to kill her off to know that is not going to happen.  They will have to put up with her. I will also give a heads up that at least one of the main character’s lives will be ended.  By the way, those that had the intriguing theory that Walter Day was Jack are wrong.  Regarding Jack there will be a resolution, but done in my fictional universe, not the real world theories.”

The author also gave a heads up about his next project due out in the summer.  It is a collection of the first five issues of his Rasputin comics put into a book. It takes place during and just after WWI.  It will be a fictional version of Rasputin’s life and times that will include the conspiracy theories. 

As with all his books Grecian likes to take a real-life antagonist and place him in different fictional settings.  He places his own mindset on what will happen to the criminal, deciding on a more original version. These books are thrillers set in the early 20th century, late 19th century. Readers will be scared and thrilled as they read these gruesome, violent, dark, and graphic stories.