The Pierced Heart by Lynn Shepherd
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Less of the vampire theme than I'd expected (hence the 4), but the atmosphere is wonderfully creepy and suspenseful. What's going on in the mysterious castle Charles Maddox visits? How is any of it related to what happened to the various girls being killed (in Ripper-esque style) in London? Is the Baron for real, let alone human (he never seems to eat, avoids sun, etc.)? These questions lie at the heart of this book, and the conclusion does seem a bit too coincidental and convenient to be completely satisfying. Because this is an hommage, the characters are a little flat and sacrificed in service of plot and setting.
I don't remember great detail about the previous Maddox book's writing style (my copy is in storage just now) but it does feel as though this book's style differs - Shepherd seems to mimic the style of the genre/author she's riffing on (Austen, Shelley, Dickens/Conan Doyle, now Stoker). That can be off-putting to some readers, particularly those who are used to modern pacing and sentence styling. And I do need to go and read the two earlier books I haven't yet read...
ARC provided by publisher.