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By Paul T. Scheuring

IR Rating:
Paul T. Scheuring’s THE RESURRECTIONIST is an eloquent and evocative literary thriller with elements of the gothic.
IR Approved
London. 1820. Job Mowatt is a grave-robber, a resurrectionist. Now hired to steal a specific corpse, the full horror of his profession is about to become apparent.

In the London of 1820 the fascination with anatomy and physiognomy was at its height. New medical schools required corpses for dissection by their students. Doctors conducted their own secretive experiments in their laboratories. To supply the requisite number of bodies, a “corpse trade” had been established. This was the golden age of the ‘Resurrectionists’, body-snatchers who would raid graves and sell what they had stolen. In Paul T. Scheuring’s THE RESURRECTIONIST, Job Mowatt earns a meager living stealing bodies, but it’s enough to keep some kind of roof over his head and that of his daughter Ivy, even if their home is in one of London’s worst slums. Now the anatomist Percival Quinn has tasked him to steal a specific corpse and the full horror of Job’s profession will soon become apparent.

This period drama brilliantly evokes the chaos and squalor of the era with well drawn, memorable characters from every strata of society. One moment the reader is amongst the paupers in the filth and degradation of the slums, the next with high society in their grand mansions. The question raised by Scheuring: which is truly noble? The author’s prose is able to conjure up the state of the city so that the reader can almost sense the pollution caused by the “effluvia of tanyards, of breweries, sugar bakers, and soap boilers.” The sickly yellow fog of London is described as being like “breathing hot wool.”

Scheuring’s intriguing story is told via chapters alternating between different character’s points of view. This provides both a shift in perspective and in prose style with each individual being given not only their own voice but a difference in the way the text is presented. This is most obvious in the juxtaposition between the lyrical and wistful Ivy–with her flowing, lyrical sentences–and the terse Job with his short, almost brutish one sentence paragraphs. This is a literary device that can stall lesser writers, but Scheuring is on top of his material and his subtle stylistic shifts enhance the reading experience rather than confuse the reader. The author’s previous novel was the well regarded The Far Shore and this new work firmly establishes him as a writer well worth seeking out.

Paul T. Scheuring’s THE RESURRECTIONIST is an eloquent and evocative literary thriller with elements of the gothic.

~Kent Lane for IndieReader

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