Wednesday, March 29, 2017
Two Bloggers One Book - The Jekyll Revelation
This month Stormi and I decided to read an ARC that's been sitting on our shelves for a few months (or technically on our Kindle) - The Jekyll Revelation by Robert Masello. Stormi and I have chatted back and forth about it the past week or so and I'm interested to see her final review because I do believe this is a book I might have enjoyed a tad bit more than her. Once you read my review, make sure to hop over to Stormi's blog and see what she thought. Anyway, without further adieu...
AUTHOR: Robert Masello
PUBLISHER: 47 North
PUBLISHING DATE: November 8, 2016
FROM GOODREADS: While on routine patrol in the tinder-dry Topanga Canyon, environmental scientist Rafael Salazar expects to find animal poachers, not a dilapidated antique steamer trunk. Inside the peculiar case, he discovers a journal, written by the renowned Robert Louis Stevenson, which divulges ominous particulars about his creation of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. It also promises to reveal a terrible secret—the identity of Jack the Ripper.
Unfortunately, the journal—whose macabre tale unfolds in an alternating narrative with Rafe’s—isn’t the only relic in the trunk, and Rafe isn’t the only one to purloin a souvenir. A mysterious flask containing the last drops of the grisly potion that inspired Jekyll and Hyde and spawned London’s most infamous killer has gone missing. And it has definitely fallen into the wrong hands.
MY THOUGHTS: I have looked forward to reading this book for ages but never made time for it. So when one of my best blogging buddies suggested we read it together to feature on our "Two Bloggers One Book" I was thrilled. However, while it saddens me to admit it, "The Jekyll Revelation" is not the book for everyone. It is very slow in places and I think my love for Jack the Ripper and anything Gothic and Victorian in nature is what helped me through. Also, I would love to give the book 3.5/5 but since Goodreads simply doesn't allow it (and why not BTW?) I guess I must conform and because of the elements listed above, go with 4/5.
"The Jekyll Revelation" is told entirely in two alternating timelines. First you have Rafe Salazar who is an environmental scientist studying coyotes in drought-stricken Topanga, California. Then you have Robert Louis Stevenson's diary which tells the second tale. And let me warn you, it takes a LONG time for these two plot lines to link together in any real fashion. While working in the mountains one day, Rafe stumbles across an old trunk floating in a pond. He finds nothing of interest in it except for some old Victorian clothes and a journal written by none other than Stevenson himself. Rafe's tale takes him on an adventure which has him battling clandestine meth labs and bikers and fighting the feelings for his landlady while struggling to take care of his disabled sister as well and protect the canyon coyotes.
Stevenson's tale is one of mystery and intrigue, with a lot of information dumping scattered throughout. Battling an illness, he and his family travel to a remote location where he can receive experimental treatment. The doctor manages to infuse Stevenson with a tonic containing wolf blood which has some lasting effects on all who take it. Stevenson, who is famous for "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" starting penning the famous novel and as time progresses, we learn of his true inspiration for his tale. Also, around the same time, Jack the Ripper begins stalking his prey but is there a connection to Stevenson and his groundbreaking horror tale?
Masello must have a heck of an imagination because there are so many different elements in this book and as if there werem't enough, he even throws a popular theater owner - Bram Stoker - into the mix. At times I found the book confusing and hard to follow and I honestly think Masello could have written two separate tales and the stories would have been just as good. The two really only overlap at the very end and while it was a nice connection, it could have went without happening. Also, maybe I missed something but I think there was an element that never did get wrapped up well. Rafe finds giant tracks in Topanga early in the novel which could not possible belong to the coyotes he's tracking and I'm not sure if the reader ever really learns where they came from. Miranda, the landlady, also encounters that giant wolf and unless I'm mistaken, it's presence is never explained well.
So in retrospect, which sometimes happens after putting my thoughts down on "paper," I'm going with 3/5. I liked the book but it didn't overwhelm me and since I've now taken a good look at my thoughts, I realize quite a few flaws have grabbed hold of my book-filled mind. Overall, if you like Gothic takes, are fascinated with Jack the Ripper (like I apparently am) and don't mind dueling timelines, you might enjoy "The Jekyll Revelation." Just don't prepare for a quick read and at best, just enjoy the slow ride through some often confusing and sometimes terrifying landscapes.
RATING: 3 PAWS