The Buffalo Butcher

Jack the Ripper in the Electric City

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
302 Pages
Reviewed on 04/20/2024
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Author Biography

Robert Brighton is an authority on the Gilded Age and a great believer that the Victorian era was anything but stuffy. On the contrary, in his books Brighton exposes the gritty realities of the time against a backdrop of meticulous research. His immersive historical fiction novels have earned multiple awards.

When he is not sniffing out unsolved mysteries, Brighton is an adventurer. He has traveled in more than 56 countries around the world, usually on only a few dollars a day, throwing himself into every situation his characters will face — from underground ruins to opium dens — and (so far) living to tell about it.

A graduate of the Sorbonne, Brighton is an avid student of early twentieth century history and literature, a relentless investigator, and an admirer of Emily Dickinson and Jim Morrison. Currently he lives in Virginia with his wife and their two cats.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Carmen Tenorio for Readers' Favorite

The Buffalo Butcher: Jack the Ripper in the Electric City by Robert Brighton delves into the horrific serial killings of women, most of whom were prostitutes from the Tenderloin district or the infamous whorehouses and shabby parlors of vice and honky-tonk in downtown Buffalo, New York. The events deeply troubled Buffalo’s mayor, police, and newspapers because they were at a loss for reliable leads to solve the crime. They could not afford to tarnish the city’s image due to the upcoming visit of President McKinley to the Pan-American Exposition of 1901. The crimes were seen akin to London’s Jack the Ripper mainly because of the victims and the gruesome way they were killed. Out of fear for their lives and safety, a group of courtesans who work for a high-end brothel try to help solve the case before they become the next victims. Leader Helen Crosby, (or Miss Bell as she is professionally known) who has finally found a solid clue, has decided to take matters into her own hands. Will Helen’s instincts prove to be correct? Will she be able to finally identify the killer and stop the murders?

Author Robert Brighton's skillful storytelling features thrilling moments, tension, intense scenes, and well-balanced pacing. All is compounded and woven through his meticulous and impressively researched historical details in the story’s setting and multidimensional, realistic, and gritty characters that make it a stirring piece of work. The author deftly recreates the dysfunctional power relations, structures, social dynamics, and mores evident at that time. This is a provocative and intriguing novel best suited for a mature audience because of its complex and dark themes. But mixed into the plot are redemptive motifs like friendship, compassion, resilience, courage, love, and even adult matters that deal with sexuality, and sexual exploration. This makes a captivating and engrossing cover-to-cover read that serves up a platter of mystery, drama, sex, and riveting suspense intertwined with unforgettable and impactful plot twists and turns. The Buffalo Butcher is a highly recommended, unputdownable novel for true crime, mystery, historical fiction, or period-piece fanatics.

Ronél Steyn

Robert Brighton brings us gritty historical fiction in The Buffalo Butcher: Jack the Ripper in the Electric City. In the Tenderloin District of Buffalo, New York, someone is killing prostitutes. The killer is mutilating their bodies as well as leaving behind a little symbol carved into their skin. The similarities to the victims of Jack The Ripper are uncanny. Has Whitechapel’s Jack decided to continue exploring his gruesome tastes in the United States after a little time away? All of this happens during the Pan-American Exhibition of 1901. The people in charge of the city don’t need any more bad publicity. Then there are Mrs. Harrington’s girls who decide to take matters into their own hands. Can they find the killer and save their own?

Author Robert Brighton lifts the veil and brings to light the things that happen in the dark of the Tenderloin District. With the prevalent theme of light and dark, the author exposes the cold hard truth buried beneath the glittering lights of the world during the Gilded Age. With the author's descriptive words, all the senses are stimulated and the reader is there in the alleys of Buffalo. Written in the third-person narrative, the reader is privy to the raw emotions of the well-developed characters. Due to the graphic content, this book is not recommended for young or sensitive readers. The Buffalo Butcher is brutal and honest with a fast pace and an exceptional plot. Fans of historical fiction, as well as murder mysteries, will love this intense and riveting page-turner of a novel.

Laura R. Brush

Robert Brighton’s The Buffalo Butcher is a relentless and urgent account of disturbing happenings at the Pan-American Exposition in 1901. Beneath the radiant glow of the much anticipated “Electric City” lurks a realm of shadowed indulgences. Its Tenderloin District is a labyrinth of taverns, houses of ill-repute, and humble lodgings. Here, amidst the vice-ridden sprawl rivaling the Exposition in scale, visitors surrender to their darker desires. As the city gasps under stifling heat and masses of humanity, a chilling series of crimes unfolds. The lifeless bodies of sex workers are discovered brutally disfigured by a remorseless predator— their skin etched with enigmatic encryptions. These horrific slayings heap unspeakable violations upon women who once had dreams of a brighter future.

Peeling back the layers of the narrative reveals the true genius of Robert Brighton’s craft, and there's one essential proclamation to make. With a penchant for a whimsical take on mortality and the abyssal facets of human existence, the author's gift to his readers transcends the mundane. He succeeds in taking us on a journey through the depths of genuine malevolence that lurk in the shadows, targeting the unprotected as vile and corrupt beings cast their nefarious spells. This narrative is not for the faint-hearted seeking solace in a cozy mystery. The tale is conveyed with a raw honesty that honors the victims, and within its bounds, you will discover an unyielding condemnation of the diabolical. Yet, through it all The Buffalo Butcher is, foremost and triumphantly, a chronicle of the indomitable human spirit.