Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Madness Underneath

The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson

After her near-fatal run-in with the Jack the Ripper copycat, Rory Devereaux has been living in Bristol under the close watch of her parents. So when her therapist suddenly suggests she return to Wexford, Rory jumps at the chance. But Rory's brush with the Ripper touched her more than she thought possible: she's become a human terminus, with the power to eliminate ghosts on contact. She soon finds out that the Shades—the city's secret ghost-fighting police—are responsible for her return. The Ripper may be gone, but now there is a string of new inexplicable deaths threatening London. Rory has evidence that the deaths are no coincidence. Something much more sinister is going on, and now she must convince the squad to listen to her before it's too late. -Plot summary borrowed from Goodreads

Unusually for many series installments, our protagonist, Rory, has rather a lot of consequences to wade through- not the least of which, coping with the trauma of a violent attack that occurred at the end of The Name of the Star. I really like that Johnson took the time to deal with these issues, it adds another layer of believability. That being said, looking back, this one does suffer a bit from middle-of-the-series-itis. The reveals weren't as big as they could have been, there wasn't much romantic sparkage, and there was a great deal of set-up for the next book. And why, oh why did we only get one appearance from Alistair, the 80s punk ghost who haunts the literature section of the library?! Love him! Miss him! Need more of him!

Still, I love Rory and the world she inhabits (although I will admit that, when the book dragged, I got a bit distracted pretending that this was taking place in the Being Human UK, and that Rory might bump into Annie or Mitchell at any moment). I'm excited to read the next book, The Shadow Cabinet, in 2014.


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