I, Ripper

by Stephen Hunter.

Published by Simon & Schuster.

Set in Victorian London, Hunter’s tale is an enthusiastic retelling of the events of August through November 1888, when an anonymous serial killer dubbed “Jack the Ripper” stalked the streets of Whitechapel.

The book is told in alternate viewpoints with each chapter. One point of view is told by a journalist, named Jeb, who investigated the murders and is recording it in his memoirs, twenty-four years later. The second account is the diary of Jack the Ripper, himself. I liked how this was done as it gives the reader an insight into Jacks madness and allows us to have both an insider’s and outsider’s perspective at once. The book does a magnificent job of drawing its audience into the time period, largely through its use of language.

The crimes make up almost half the book and they are not for the squeamish or those who become queasy easily. Each crime is related in minute detail, the descriptions are drawn from the case history, but the author also adds his own flourish, as well. One can’t help but feel sorry for the women who had these despicable acts done to them.

The revealing of the serial killers identity stretches believe, but these are unsolved crimes so the author had to have someone to pin it on. Overall, I, Ripper is an enjoyable, if graphic, plunge into the minds of a murderer and a tabloid journalist. It is well researched and full of historical insights.