Review of the previous novel, The Madman’s Daughter, here.
The last we saw of Juliet Moreau, she was adrift on a boat in the sea, her love Montgomery having let her escape the impending bloodbath on her father’s island alone. After some time on the ocean, she was picked up by a passing liner and sent back to London, where she was adopted by a respectable professor who at one time was her father’s friend and now enemy. Now Juliet is trying to be a respectable young woman despite her past, but a new series of murders echo the same type of killings from her father’s island. She fears Edward has followed her to London, and when she meets him courting her friend Lucy, she is torn between wanting to help him and betraying his identity as the murderer. However, Edward is still battling his alternate identity, that of the Beast, the real one who is committing the murders. Edward is trying to find a cure for himself, and Juliet needs a cure too because lately she keeps becoming more and more ill. Juliet promises to help Edward in exchange for trying to keep the Beast imprisoned. Despite their good intentions, things only escalate as Montgomery returns, a mysterious organization called the King’s Club pursues Juliet, and the lines between life and death, love and morality become even more twisted. Juliet has murdered before; didn’t she practically kill her own father? What if she has to do it again to survive and save those she loves?
I may not have liked the first one, perhaps because I wasn’t expecting something so dark and chilling, but I really liked this second installment in the Madman’s Daughter series. Megan Shepherd does a fantastic job at both making something really creepy through description and leaving just enough unknown that we’re not sure what’s going to happen. If this book had eerie music attached to it, I’m not sure I could’ve read it without leaping out of my skin a few times. Also, I don’t know how it keeps happening, but the book doesn’t seem to have much to do with romance at all, then kapow! There’s all that love triangle business between Edward, Juliet, and Montgomery. Only this time, Lucy is added into the mix, and of course, our poor heroine is all mixed up about her feelings for the men and the men’s feelings for her. Makes sense though with all the other action going on! One of the things I enjoyed most about this book was how it incorporated ideas from both Frankenstein and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Not going to speak anymore on that, you’ll just have to read it! Readers should note there is graphic violence, sexual content, and as I said, all around creepiness. But if you’re in the mood for a bone-chilling read, pick it up!
I recognized the fourth body.
It was the old white-haired man from the flower show, Sir Danvers Carew, the beloved member of Parliament who had once abused my mother and me. I’d seen him only days ago, and now . . . dead. I closed a hand over my mouth as my mind crawled over his pale face, his bloodstained skin, trying to understand. He had the same slash marks on his chest, and bruises all over his body, made with some blunt sharp object. Like a cane. No wonder the paper had declined to name him. Such an important man, surely his family would prefer not to be associated with a mass murderer. It hardly mattered. He was dead either way.
Four. I knew all four victims.
And in turn, I realized, I had been victim to each of them.
The idea made me step away from the bodies, back pressed against the cold metal door. It didn’t matter how I tried to explain it–nothing about it felt right. Four deaths, four people who had wronged me.
Almost as though . . .
I hesitated, telling myself I might possible be going mad.
. . . almost as though someone was watching out for me.
I shivered uncontrollably, as the bones in my hands and arms shifted and popped, threatening another fit.
A premonition that had been growing now gripped me hard, as my mind flashed back to all the bodies on the island. Alice, Father’s sweet maid, dripping blood from dead feet. A beast-woman separated from her jaw. Those wounds, as well, had been lovingly made by a monster.
Edward is dead, I told myself. The dead don’t come back.
And yet the fear kept squeezing my heart, trying to get me to believe in the impossible. MY head was already aching. Soon I’d grow faint. In a desperate fury, I decided the only thing that would calm my mind would be to prove scientifically that the wounds were very different and therefore couldn’t have been made by Edward. On the island, I had read and memorized meticulous autopsy reports from Father’s files for all of Edward’s victims. Eleven and a half inches long, one inch apart, and two inches deep.
I pulled out a thread from my pocket and measured the length of Annie’s cuts, the spacing between them, even gently pulled apart the wounds to measure the depth. I repeated the process on all four bodies.
They were all the same: eleven and a half inches long, one inch apart, and two inches deep.
I stumbled back against the empty table, stunned. The thread slipped from my fingers, along with a spool of my sanity.
The murderer was the same. Somehow, even though I’d thought him dead, there was no doubt.
Edward had done this.