Winner of the prestigious Black Claw Award for mystery, The Devil Lives in Glasgow is equal to Caleb Carr's best. Bornais takes his reader back to Victorian England when the Scottish highlands were terrorized by a series of gruesome murders. His unlikely hero is Joe Hackney, a disabled, small-time crook with connections that he manipulates into a job with Scotland Yard. To both Hackney's surprise and dismay, the Yard sends him to Glasgow to wrap up the case of a businessman whose murder looks like a simple burglary gone bad. To make matters worse, Hackney's assignment proves to be anything but simple. The reluctant investigator turns into a first-class detective as he slowly exposes a string of similar crimes. These killings are clearly linked by a single thread - a man named Hogg. But the mystery for Hackney, and for the reader, is how this same Hogg could commit crimes that occurred nearly 60 years apart. Bornais' book rivals The Alientist for a story rich with intrigue and suspense as well as with the details of its period. The Devil Lives in Glasgow does not evoke the porcelain of an afternoon tea but the gutters and misery of the working masses of Victorian Scotland. It is a classic example of the "black novel" whose hero tells a story that is as diabolical as it is enthralling.
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The Devil Lives in Glasgow takes us back to Victorian England -- not the England of polite society but the England of the gutters and misery of the working masses. Joe Hackney is young sergeant with Scotland Yard who is sent to Glasgow when a grisly murder takes the life of well-connected businessman. Hackney is not the obvious candidate for the job. Recruited into police work because of his personal ties to the criminal world and disabled by a disfigured leg, Hackney prefers to stay in his familiar haunts in the West End, especially because of his attachment to Millie, a barmaid at the pub where his father once worked. But there is little time in Hackney's world for romance. This fast-paced thriller takes off almost as soon as Joe arrives in Scotland and his local "boss," Innes, shows him a series of photos with identical characteristics. These killings are clearly linked, and it is not too long before Hackney, aided by a local partner, is able to identify the killer -- a man named Hogg. The real mystery for Hackney and Buchanan is how this same Hogg could commit crimes that occurred nearly sixty years apart! Here is a classic example of the "black novel" whose hero tells a tale that is as chilling as it is enthralling. Filled with unsettling surprises, the story is enriched by the author's uncanny ability to recreate the language and the atmosphere of the period The plot moves from a mystery that is graphically real to a tale that is eerily surreal when Hackney realizes that the villain he seeks carries the curse of the Devil himself. This understanding allows the young detective to solve the crime but forces him to make a life-altering personal choice.From the Back Cover:
Readers of The Alienist will be delighted to discover this prize-winning Victorian thriller. Bornais, one of France's leading mystery writers, weaves a chilling tale of a satanic curse and how it plays itself out in several generations of Scottish highlanders. A highly original horror story, The Devil Lives in Glasgow leads us away from the porcelain and afternoon tea of the classic Victorian novel to reveal the underbelly of nineteenth-century Glasgow, with all its poverty, filth, and corruption. Even more unsettling, however, is the way the author is able to blend reality with the supernatural, to create a yarn that is as believable as it is macabre. Joe Hackney, a newly appointed sergeant with Scotland Yard, is teamed up with the dapper, but unimaginative, Dougal Buchanan, to find the killer of a local Glasgow businessman. In short order, the pair find themselves faced with not one murder, but thirteen identical crimes spanning sixty years. Even more bizarre, their only suspect seems to assume a different identity with each decade. All the elements of a well-executed thriller are working here -- driving suspense, compelling characters, grim details, corrupt bureaucrats thwarting the search, and the clock ticking relentlessly down toward the death of another victim. At the same time, the author's uncanny ability to recreate the language and the atmosphere of the period add to the mood.
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