Monday, December 19, 2011

Venus In Saturn

By C. Wood

It’s the Christmas season, 1999, and a part-time hooker is found gruesomely murdered near the area where a couple of victims of Jack the Ripper were found. Vanessa Descartes, forensics investigator for the London Metropolitan police, is called to assist with the case. After conducting some investigation on her own, she discovers the victim had a connection to a church, one with which Vanessa’s sister associated before she committed suicide seventeen years before. DNA evidence under the victim’s fingernails leads police to another body with another Ripper connection. Vanessa believes the killers are trying to divert the police from the truth by setting up the scenes to be parallels to the 1800’s serial killer. Soon however, Vanessa’s past catches up with her and she discovers a horrible and incredible connection not to her family, Jack the Ripper, but secret Nazi experiments.

This is definitely a strange one. I wasn’t sure where everything was headed because nothing seemed to collate at the beginning. But it’s an interesting and complex plot with just the right touch of eeriness with some unique religious perspectives.

Vanessa Jane Descartes: 30, forensics investigator for the London Metropolitan Police. Redheaded. Was a cutter with an inferiority complex in her youth and self flagellates as an adult as a strange religious ritual. Suffers from stress headaches. Drinks sometimes to drown her complexes. Father was an alcoholic and died while Vanessa was in her teens. Sister committed suicide. Was an intellectual prodigy in high school and college. Comes from a family who supposedly had ‘gifts.’

Sam: Late twenties, Pakistani, friend, and coworker of Descartes’.

Jack Carpenter: Inspector with the police. Descartes’ superior. Supposedly gruff and surly but doesn’t come across that way. Married.

The more you read, the more layers of Vanessa are uncovered. Her evolution of personality and attitude. She is a very complex character.

I felt Sam and Vanessa sounded a lot alike. Jack had his own voice that fit his character.

Long flowing narratives with lots of descriptions, some it original and appealing. A lot of back story showing Vanessa’s early teen with her older sister and after the suicide, through her college years. Some of the back story became a little long and I longed for the return to the present and the main story. Even some of the ‘flashback visions’ Vanessa has ran a little long even though they contributed to the story. There are problems with POV switching at various times. A few words misspelled and some grammar errors.

In regards to the flashbacks or the back story, some of them were difficult to comprehend right off and they might have been better organized and better defined. Long passages in the past and jumping from the past to the present with nary a warning became confusing.

My ranking:

Purple Belt

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