"The prose is richly detailed, and the authorial mind keenly intelligent. The language is at once archaic and thoroughly modern, like Arthur Conan Doyle writing in the time of Google Maps. The story is tightly plotted, with the chapter breaks breathlessly pushing the action along.
The story is set in a downtrodden East End of London, part Jack the Ripper and part David Widgery's Some Lives!: A Gp's East End. Heckle is a solicitor representing 'bad' people with messy lives, people he disapproves of. There's a suggestion that he feels that in helping degenerates escape justice he is not serving the interests of a society in breakdown. Now perhaps he's being punished by seeing it happen in his own life, with his daughter falling under the spell of one John Freid, an amoral, psychopathic murderer.
There's a surprisingly amount going in this short tale. Subtexts include the motives of those who help the needy; how we can feel trapped by how others perceive us; how drugs can free us, and then destroy us; parents who are fearful of the sexuality of their adult children; the treatment of immigrants in society; and social and class conflict. All told in a luxurious but immediately engaging prose style.
Like Will Self without a thesauraus, Chris Child shows potential to be a great neo-Gothic chronicler of London. I look forward to his next book."
From the amazon reviews