Monday, September 17, 2012

Every Day Is A Blast #7 - 'The Killing of Emma Gross'

Each day for seven days I'll be looking back at one of the Blasted Heath books I've read and reviewed. The last in this series of blog posts is 'The Killing of Emma Gross' by Damien Seaman.

The Killing of Emma GrossThis was a real eye opener for me. 'The Killing of Emma Gross' is at once an interesting look at early 1900's European crime and the stumbling police in charge of investigating the real life crime. From the outset it's apparent that this is going to be one bloody and memorable tale. The opening scene still leaves me cringing despite reading the book in December 2011. I sure hope to see more books by Damien Seaman on the horizon - particularly historical crime fiction, he's got a real penchant for writing the good stuff. My review, originally posted on Amazon and Goodreads is below:

The Killing of Emma Gross chronicles the reign of notorious serial killer Peter Kürten in which late 1920's/early 1930's saw Düsseldorf's own Jack the Ripper terrorise residents and taunt police in a spree which can be compared to modern day horrors typically more macabre and heinous than those of the bygone era.

Damien Seaman invokes the provocative and nurtures the killers' prerogative through blood red lenses as he depicts a period piece where artistic licence and fact bleed a more damning form of truth. Capturing the essence of the tainted and honest alike, Seaman's early introduction of key players Thomas Klein (aka Doubtful Thomas) and Peter Kürten pits a well mannered killer against a police force in need of redemption following a string of grotesque murders. From Klein's distinct under dog persona - having fallen victim to segregation courtesy of a fellow officers' personal vendetta which threatens to impedes an investigation surrounding the disappearance of a young girl, to the evolution of a lone wolf complex not unlike the PI's of the hard boiled tradition - the story grows with the protagonist with each dimension delivering further depth and humility.

Adding complexity with conviction, Damien Seaman, weaves the certifiable Stausberg's murders into the equation raising doubt over the initial sentence handed down and subsequent competency of the police to shed new light on the decaying bodies – notably that of Emma Gross.

The Killing of Emma Gross’ is a unique and captivating historical police procedural that delivers on premise from the opening blood soaked stanza to the twisted conclusion. An essential guide to the darker side of 1930's Europe.

Side note: As much as ‘The Killing of Emma Gross’ was a joy in itself to read, the timeline material at the end provides a sense of context to the murders and showcases the struggles the police had in bringing those responsible to justice. History buffs and crime enthusiasts will love this.

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