The Queen of Bedlam

Date finished: 4-26-08
Author: Robert McCammon
Category: Mystery (historical)
Published: 2007
Pages: 656

Basic Plot:
Set in Manhattan in 1703, the Masker is engendering fear in the hearts of everyone as he claims his second and third victims. The constabulary is in its infancy, and the head is out of his league, leaving little hope for the case to be solved. Can law clerk Matthew Corbett connect the multiple threads running through this case to not only apprehend the Masker, but also identify the Queen of Bedlam and foil the plans of an underworld gang?

My assessment:
I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to handle this book when I first picked it up. I’ve been reading way too many books lately geared for 10-year-olds and that impacts your ability to handle an “adult” book. It took me a bit to get back to processing complex sentences, but it was well worth it. This was one of the better books I’ve read in quite a while.

Matthew Corbett proves to be a hero I can rally behind with his keen mind, sharp sense of justice, believable humanity and dogged determination. McCammon keeps the proper balance between providing us information and sustaining the suspense, not an easy thing to do with more than 600 pages to fill. My favorite device of his was the way he lets us into Matthew’s mind at times to see how Matthew brings together disparate information to reach conclusions. This works much better for me than traditional exposition after the fact.

Lots of action told well and a complex story woven in a clear way. I look forward to going back to reading McCammon’s first book with Matthew and to (hopefully) many more.

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