Edinburgh Dead by Brian Ruckley
Edinburgh 1828: it’s a city populated by mad alchemists who treat Frankenstein as textbook rather than novel and by a criminal underclass prepared to treat with the darkest of powers. And one officer, from the recently formed Edinburgh City Police, must follow the trail of undead hounds, emptied graves, brutal murders and mob violence into the deepest and darkest corners of Edinburgh’s underworld – both literal and magical – and back again to the highest reaches of elegant, intellectual Edinburgh society.
It’s 1828, an ex-soldier, Adam Quire, is investigating death of what seems like a vagrant – but leads him to house of Ruthven. The plot of the novel involves raising the dead, grave-robbing.
Edinburgh Dead is a good historical thriller, with a touch of pseudo-science and magic thrown in. Although it has some of the elements of a detective novel there’s not really a lot of detection involved. Its more about tracking down the bad guys against the odds. Quire doesn’t get a lot of help from the rest of the police.
The atmospheric setting of Edinburgh is one of the highlights. Ruckley captures the weird layout and architecture of the city particularly well, I think.
I wouldn’t say it was perfect – as mentioned the detection part of it isn’t that sophisticated. Also there’s a flashback to Quire as a soldier during the Battle of Waterloo that I thought probably wasn’t necessary.
In conclusion, this is not a trashy zombie book. The risen dead element is kept in proportion and in fact there’s not too many zombies at all, which means that when they do appear the effect is much more powerful.