Books Crime Fiction review Thriller

The Butcher of Berner Street by Alex Reeve – Review

Genre: Thriller/Mystery/Crime
Published: December 2020
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Pages: 380
My Rating: /5

You’ve done it now Leo. The Butcher of Berner Street has caught the public imagination.”

Alex Reeve, The Butcher of Berner Street


In London 1881, Leo Stanhope, a reporter at the Daily Chronicle receives an anonymous letter telling him that he needs to attend the penny gaff on Berner Street as a terrible murder is about to take place. His daily work usually consists of writing articles about science and topics no one else wants to write about, but this grabs his attention immediately. The owner of the club is soon found murdered, causing Leo to pursue the matter further even though he is told not to. We follow Leo from club to convent with the list of suspects mounting. Can he solve this case and help bring the killer to justice?

This book is a thrilling murder mystery combined with historical fiction.
It is the third installment of the Leo Stanhope case, but reads great as a standalone. It also makes me want to pick up the first two books ASAP, as I would love to get to know more about Leo and his past.
He is a complex character who I enjoyed learning about as I read this book. The protagonist, Leo Stanhope is a transgender man, in a time where this was seen as a crime and you were jailed if anyone were to find out.
We learn more about the struggles he faces trying to be who is without it being found out. He feels like he doesnt fit it.

It is easy to become attached to Leo, with his kind-hearted nature. He really is a likable character, but he is not without his faults. Eager to have his stories on the front page and to gain recognition by his boss, he doesn’t always think about the consequences of his words or actions and who they might endanger. He often acts impulsively without thinking things through, which occasionally lands him in dangerous situations. We meet a wonderful array of different characters in the story, each with their own past and struggles.

Another character I really enjoyed getting to know is Leos good friend Rosie, she is independent and not afraid to stand her ground when challenged. I love a strong-willed female character especially when it is set in a time period where women were expected to serve and please men.

They belonged and I did not.

I had no place here or anywhere.

Alex Reeve, The Butcher of Berner Street

It is a completely different era, one where women are not able to have their independence. Their duties are to be wives and mothers and serve their husbands. It is also a time where the communities take justice into their own hands, where poverty and crime runs rife and where people would turn a blind eye to violence against women. Reeves writing style grabs your attention from the first page and you will struggle to put this book down once youve picked it up. for some it could be read in one day. The descriptive writing style allows the reader to form a clear picture of 19th century London. The author writes about topics that applies to our present lives, but in the setting of Victorian London. 
I enjoyed the flow and despite the longer chapters which I dont usually enjoyed, I managed to finish this quite quickly. Any book that is able to grab my attention in this way is a winner for sure!

Disclaimer: I was sent this free copy for review by Jonathan Ball Publishers. This does not influence my review or rating in any way. All views and opinions expressed are my own.

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