Hauling Like A Brooligan

Stephen Gallagher

And so to Bedlam

No, I don’t plan to quote every review I get – not least because it’s asking for trouble and an inevitable eventual slap from someone somewhere – but thanks to Pamela O’Sullivan for making my weekend with this contribution to The Library Journal.

Gallagher, Stephen. The Bedlam Detective. Crown Pub. Group. Feb. 2012. c.320p. ISBN 9780307406644. $25.

Reviews: Fiction | First Look at New Books, January 13, 2012

Sebastian Becker is a special investigator for the Lord Chancellor’s Visitor in Lunacy — a detective who studies whether various wealthy individuals are of sound mind and capable of conducting their own affairs. He is assigned to investigate a rich landowner, but his arrival in the man’s small town coincides with a double murder for which the subject of his visit seems a likely suspect. As he works to ferret out the truth, Becker must find a way to distinguish the real monsters from the imaginary ones. The story moves easily between present and past events, leading to a conclusion that is as perfectly logical as it is surprising.

Verdict Intricately drawn characters, carefully shaded depictions of events and situations, and an excellent sense of pacing mark this latest offering from Gallagher (The Kingdom of Bones; Nightmare, with Angel). This is a real page-turner, and fans will hope to see more of Sebastian Becker in the future. It may also attract readers who enjoy historical thrillers in the Caleb Carr tradition.

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