by Stefen Petrucha
picked it up at the library
A historical fiction YA book. What a ride! It takes place in 1889 New York. Carver Young is an orphan who is adopted, or rather, taken in by a famous Pinkerton detective. Carver found a letter right before he leaves written to the orphanage by his father, so Hawking (the detective) nudges him in the right direction to hunt down the clues to find him.
Hawking takes him to the New Pinkerton headquarters, where a new branch of the private detectives operate in secret, have super fabulous inventions and they are trying to hunt down a serial killer currently targeting rich women. There is a little bit of a steampunk flair there! The police force is filled with corruption, even though Teddy Roosevelt is currently working to clean it all up. So the new Pinkerton’s are looking for a big catch to announce their presence to New York.
This book moves quickly. Carver is a smart young man, though a bit quick to judge and he learns a few lessons about who is a good friend and how to find someone to trust. He ends up in the hunt for the serial killer, none other than Jack the Ripper and along with his friends, uncovers the game afoot. There is a bit of blood and violence (how can there not be with the Ripper as a main character?!) but it takes back seat to the mystery, who he is targeting and why. Carver is central to the mystery, as he keeps running into a big, scary, predatory man and he is the only detective making much headway into finding him. The story is great, with a lot of twists and turns and confusions. 3 stars.