cover image Ripper


Michael Slade. Signet Book, $4.99 (416pp) ISBN 978-0-451-17702-5

When American feminist Brigid Marsh is found hanging dead in Vancouver with her face flayed, local Mountie Nick Craven calls in Robert de Clerq, commander of Special X, an elite division of the Mounties tackling foreign crime in Canada. Marsh's murder has the hallmarks both of Satanic ritual and serial murder and, as other grisly deaths ensue, they eerily follow a pattern established in Jolly Roger , a new paperback thriller only on the verge of publication. As de Clerq uses the novel to trace the motivations of the group of killers back to the same demons that drove the original Jack the Ripper, a coven of mystery writers and an ex-police chief find members of their group being killed off as they try to solve the mystery on an isolated island. In his third thriller ( Headhunter ), Slade blends a classic murder mystery game with occult arcana to such an intricate degree that he may lose all but the most dedicated mystagogue. However, he does share trenchant insights into the way childhood sexual abuse and fantasy inform the development of psychopathic killers. (June)