Ruler of the Night by David Morrell
Mulholland Books, 2017
Available: Hardcover, paperback, Kindle edition, Audible
Ruler of the Night is the conclusion of a terrific trilogy from one of the masters of horror and thrillers, David Morrell. In this trilogy, the author of both Rambo and the classic dark novels, The Totem, Creepers, and Testament, takes readers on a ride back to the Victorian Age, and introduces the enigmatic Thomas DeQuincey, also known as the Opium Eater (a character based on the essayist who authored Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, who penned several stories and essays that directly influenced Edgar Allan Poe).
The first two books, Murder As Fine Art and Inspector of the Dead, brought Morrell new fans across the genres in which he writes and proved that the awards he has amassed from the Stokers and International Thriller Writers were well deserved. His England is near perfect in its bleakness, the fog as thick as blood: details of this stifling, yet fascinating world, surround the reader.
In Ruler of the Night, the Opium Eater and his daughter, Emily, discover the victim of a murder on a cross-country train. The victim was locked tight in his cabin, but the act carried out was bloody and wrenching. Upon their return home, they reconnect with the duo of Detective Ryan and his trainee, Becker, who have been enlisted to track down the killer on the streets of London. Each character is fully fleshed out in this novel, just as they have been in the previous two entries. DeQuincey is utterly fascinating. Morrell makes it easy to see how he had a strong effect on the detective skills of Poe, along with the self-destructive behaviors that threaten to send him into the abyss.
I hopw that Morrell someday revisits this dark world, and that his next book contains as much mystery and horror. Recommended for any of his fans– along with anyone who loves a strong, dark thriller.
Reviewed by Dave Simms