First Sentence: Monk sat beside the fire and felt the heat seep through him.
Kate, the wife of property developer Henry Exeter, is kidnapped during an outing with her cousin, Celia. Exeter is told his wife will be killed if he doesn't deliver a large ransom to Jacob's Island, one of the worst slums in London. William Monk, Head of the Thames River Police, and three of his best men go along to deliver the ransom. When Monk and his men are attacked, it's clear they were expected. Not only do the kidnappers escape, but Kate is found brutally slaughtered. How well does Monk really know his men? Did one of Monk's men betray their plans to the kidnapper?
Perry creates a palpable sense of urgency. She overlays that by establishing the dangers involved and providing a strong suspicion to taunt the reader with the question as to who can be trusted. One can almost sense Perry smiling as she takes readers along with her.
There is wisdom in Perry's writing which can see as being appropriate to today—"The raving madman is perfectly easy to recognize. It's the one who believes he's good, that all he does is justified, who is hard to see. The one who is in the center of his own universe is the real danger."
Perry doesn't simply introduce one to the characters. She enables one to see inside them, helps one understand and often like them, as with Hooper and Celia. Those who follow the series will appreciate seeing how Will, aka Scruff, has developed. The relationship Monk has with others; his wife Hester, his men, and particularly with his former boss Rathbone, says so much about the character. Because of that, one can sense his pain at thinking one of his men may have betrayed him and the other men.
Redemption, in ways both large and small, is an important theme in Perry's writing. Her thoughts on grief are something with which many can identify and empathize, as are Monk's self-doubts. It is things such as this which make the characters both interesting and real. She brings characters in from earlier books, but always in such a way that new readers are not confused.
It is lovely, and a nice distraction, watching as a relationship develops. The conversations between the two characters are delightfully done.
Perry's descriptions create wonderful visual images—"He thought about broad estuary skies and birds on the wild winds, white gulls, skeins of geese with their wings creaking. There was no other sound like it." She is a lyrical writer—"I love numbers, Mr. Monk." She was looking at him again. "That may seem to be a strange thing in a woman, but they have a beauty, when you understand them. They are utterly without emotion, yet they have music in them, and reason, and occasionally humor."
"Dark Tide Rising" is not a light, comfortable read, but it is a very good one. There is violence, danger, anger, and an increasing body count. Perry even captivates readers with an excellent Victorian version of "Law and Order" as truth will out and justice have her day.
DARK TIDE RISING (HistMys-William Monk-England-Victorian) - VG
Ballentine Books - Sept 2018