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Reviewed by Lit Amri for Readers' Favorite
Irishmen William (Billy) Burke and William Hare were two lowlifes in Edinburgh, Scotland in the late 1820s and were Britain's first documented serial killers, notorious for their body-snatching crime that shook the society. Two mysterious strangers –- Ambrosious Black and the stunningly beautiful actress Magenta –- use their wealth and influence to manipulate Burke and Hare to do their bidding. This is the first novella in the book by Gord Rollo, Only the Thunder Knows. Second novella by Rena Mason, East End Girls, centers on the vicious killings of Jack the Ripper. Protagonist Elizabeth Covington, a doctor's daughter who is studying medicine and wants to follow in her father's footsteps, believes she knows the villain, leading her to a depth of evil and the truth that drives the madness of a murderer.
I am familiar with these two well-known documented crimes and reading them through the fresh perspectives of Rollo and Mason are rewarding. It takes a lot of guts to take a stab at historical facts and add new twists to them. The narratives are absolutely flawless –- Rollo and Mason know their craft well. The writing styles are easily readable, their pacing is excellent and the re-imagined factual story lines are a windfall. The twists of both stories are very unexpected and done in a compelling way. Horror fans won’t be disappointed with these well-crafted novellas, especially those who are always intrigued with the dark history of body-snatching and the mysterious identity of Jack the Ripper. A satisfying read indeed.