Ballantine, Mar 24 2009, $26.00
In 1864, now the head of the Thames River Police, William Monk is anxious to arrest Jericho Phillips and see him hung. The odious Phillips is a child pornographer who kidnaps young boys and forces them to perform perverted deeds. He makes a lucrative business as a supplier of kids to his pedophile customers and takes photos of the young in sexual acts that he sells to the stores.
Monk apprehends the lowlife, who is on trial defended by the police chief’s friend Sir Oliver Rathbone at the bequest of his father-in-law; who insists everyone deserves a good lawyer. Oliver tears into the prosecution’s airtight case leading to the defendant walking away free and Mon’s reputation sunk into the sift on the bottom of the Thames. Monk, his wife Hester and others are more determined than ever to see Phillips hang, but rumors spread about their methods and judgment leading to condemnation of the chief and his police force as stalkers. Phillips has clients in high places who refuse to lose their pleasure connection, but when the pedophile take something Monk treasures all hell breaks loose.
It has been too long (2006 DARK ASSASSIN) since Anne Perry has written a Monk Victorian Era police procedural, but fans of the series will feel the wait was worth waiting. Readers are taken on a tour of the Thames just after Queen Victoria’s beloved Consort prince Albert dies. Monk is as efficient as ever, but his efforts are purposely misinterpreted so that he seems more like Les Miserables' (by Hugo) malevolent stalking Police Detective Javert chasing Valjean over a stolen loaf of bread (note that novel occurs during the reign of Napoleon III so is the same age as the Monk thriller). Hester is a free thinking woman not afraid to act on her own so Monk has learned throughout the series to rely on her as she always comes through. Readers will enjoy this riveting historical mystery.