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Patient reader will be richly rewarded

Well-written police procedural

By Chelyen Davis

The Free Lance-Star

IN 1811 London, two families have been brutally murdered in Wapping, near the London Dock. The neighborhood is hysterical, the regular police are near-useless, and so Charles Horton, an officer in the new Thames River Police Office, takes it upon himself to track down a killer.

In 1564 Plymouth, a young Billy Ablass becomes a sailor to make some money for himself and his wife. He soon finds himself on one of the first slaving ships, transporting Africans to the Americas. But a few hours marooned on a remote Florida island change Billy’s life forever.

In “The English Monster,” by Lloyd Shepherd, the two times are connected by a crime, and the book flips back and forth between the two stories as it ever-so slowly draws out that connection. The book, Shepard’s first, is a police procedural, a seagoing adventure, and historical fiction all at once.

It’s slow to get moving, but patient readers will be rewarded with an unusual, vivid and well-written story.

Chelyen Davis  is a reporter  with The Free Lance–Star.

THE ENGLISH  MONSTER

By Lloyd Shepherd

(Washington Square, $16, 432 pp.)

Permalink: http://news.fredericksburg.com/books/2012/07/24/patient-reader-will-be-richly-rewarded/

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