“I, Ripper” by Stephen Hunter – Brilliant Ripper Fiction

I, Ripper: A NovelI, Ripper: A Novel by Stephen Hunter
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There are a lot of books, both fiction and non-fiction, about Jack the Ripper. I have read many of them. “I, Ripper” by Stephen Hunter is possibly the best fictional look at Saucy Jack that I have ever read. The tale is creatively told through two diaries; the diary of “Jack” and the diary of a newspaper reporter who is thrust into writing about the murders. Besides the obvious cast of characters: Polly Nichols, Annie Chapman, Long Liz Stride, Katherine Eddowes, and of course poor Mary Kelly, Hunter has created a surrounding group that complements the primary players.
Of course the story is rife with bloody murder as well as the twisted sexuality one would expect from the Ripper. Written in incredibly beautiful and accurate Victorian English in all its varieties, the reader is transported through time and space to 1888 and the streets of Whitechapel. Following the steps of Red Jack as he chooses, pursues, and savages his victims the tension grows thicker by the word. As “Jeb”, the reporter’s nom de plume, investigates and writes of the crimes, his fascination grows. Other characters, some seemingly insignificant, are woven throughout, catching the reader’s attention and always raising the question, is that Jack?
With vibrant descriptions of the streets of London, the political atmosphere of those days, and the horrific living conditions of the poor versus the well-to-do, Hunter has created a landscape ripe with realism. His blending of fact with some believable fiction has provided a story any Ripperologist will enjoy as a tale built on truth. There are a few surprises that left me with my jaw on the floor. These shockers serve to make the story even more enticing.
I highly recommend this book for anyone who enjoys a story thick with suspense and tension and of course, gory murders.

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