As far as I’m concerned, David Morrell by far is still one of my favorite writers. In the past, all his books have been memorable and I’m the first to say that every book that he has written was better than the last book.
Unfortunately, I don’t feel that way about Murder As A Fine Art. As a story, Morrell did a great job of portraying the characters and in the beginning, I was riveted after the first family was murdered. I liked the Opium Eater looking for his long lost love was a good part of the story as well.
I think the problem for me with this book was the material. It takes place in the 1850’s and while it does take place after the Ripper Murders, the setting of the story doesn’t keep me interested in the story. I did enjoy Ripper Street when it was on the BBC and I thought that would carry over here but the problem was that the characters in Ripper Street were more interesting to follow and I think watching it on TV was a better experience.
You knew who the murderer was and John Williams was a scary character to say the least. The flashbacks between that and the journal that was written by the Opium Eaters daughter brought the story down for me. While there was excitement and there were some great scenes, the material and the setting didn’t keep me interested enough to enjoy this book.
I would say that the ending was filled with suspense and it showed that how great David Morrell is as a writer even though the material and the characters weren’t very interesting or likable. I don’t think he could have done much with the material to make it better than it was.
As a story, I would give Murder As A Fine Art three stars. A typical David Morrell book would be five stars though. In this case, I hope that in the future, David Morrell would go back to writing other books that take place in the present.