Lawless and the House of Electricity by William Sutton

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Lawless and the House of Electricity by William Sutton

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Category: Crime (Historical)
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Megan Kenny
Reviewed by Megan Kenny
Summary: Lawless returns in a thrillingly complex tour de force, encompassing the breath-taking developments of the Victorian era, driven by a desire for social and political change. Tasked with solving a series of terrorist attacks, Lawless must use all his skills to uncover the link between these attacks and the innovations of the Earl of Roxbury, prevent further destruction and apprehend those responsible. This is an electrifying romp sure to dazzle fans of historical crime fiction.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 464 Date: August 2017
Publisher: Titan Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1785650130

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Campbell Lawless is back, this time tasked with solving a series of terrorist attacks across the nation. Is it the work of the French, as police and public are being led to believe, or someone closer to home? Who can be trusted and what does Roxbury, an innovative inventor previously disgraced, have to do with the bombs used to cause chaos across the country? Employing the services of Molly, the effervescent ragamuffin from his previous adventures, he sets in motion a campaign of subterfuge which uncovers long held secrets, skulduggery and the desperate yearnings beneath Roxbury's constant invention.

Without giving too much of the plot away, what I will say is that all the key ingredients for a riveting historical crime tale are here - intrigue, murder, romance and a house full of secrets. The plot thickens as Lawless struggles to link the increasingly destructive terror attacks to Roxbury's scientific endeavours and the tale comes full circle as we start to uncover the enigmatic mysteries of Roxbury house. The revelations come thick and fast but Sutton manages to keep the pace exciting whilst providing enough explanation to satisfy even the most voracious armchair detective. Those familiar with previous Lawless stories will recognise many of the characters here but the story itself stands easily alone and so those of you who may not have read any of Sutton's early work (although I recommend that you do!) will not find yourself lost. The characters were intriguing and engaging and the plot had enough twists and turns, subplots and excitement to keep me turning the pages long into the night. The use of authentically quirky adverts also grounds the tale firmly within its historical context and it is clear that a great deal of research went into this story, however Sutton has managed to integrate this with ease so that the House of Electricity never becomes a dry, dusty homage to history but remains bright and vibrant.

What is interesting about Sutton's work here is that the fears and anxieties faced by the public about the threat of terror and uncertainty about the world around them as well as the shadowy actions of those in power is very relevant to modern life. The development of the character of Molly, moving from snub nosed urchin to burgeoning womanhood also echoes the (unfortunately still relevant) fight for equality and struggles of modern young women to find their place in the world. Here he has cleverly used the past to make a powerful commentary on the present, all the while tipping a wry wink to the reader which elevates Sutton's writing and adds a pleasing complexity to the Lawless series. He is also unafraid to lift the curtain and allow the reader to see the truth behind the intrigue, rather than leaving loose threads to frustrate readers. The House of Electricity is a clever, well-crafted piece of crime fiction which adds another exciting instalment to the Lawless canon and builds on Sutton's reputation as a thoughtful, inspired voice within the field of historical crime fiction.

If this is your first introduction to Lawless and you wish to become better acquainted, you could also try Lawless and the Flowers of Sin.

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Buy Lawless and the House of Electricity by William Sutton at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Lawless and the House of Electricity by William Sutton at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Lawless and the House of Electricity by William Sutton at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Lawless and the House of Electricity by William Sutton at


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