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Execution Dock: A William Monk Novel    by Anne Perry order for
Execution Dock
by Anne Perry
Order:  USA  Can
Ballantine, 2010 (2009)
Hardcover, Softcover, CD, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Anne Perry has once again brought the streets of Victorian London to life. Thames River Police Superintendent William Monk leads a chase from barge to boat to capture Jericho Phillips. Phillips, a child pornographer, runs a sex ring using small boys who are often shipped to sea or killed when they grow too old to please his customers.

Monk follows in the footsteps of Superintendent Durban and tries to emulate the good man he believes Durban to have been. That becomes difficult when rumors and allegations are circulated that Durban was not what he seemed to be. Monk works to clear his friend and colleague's name.

At the same time, Monk is on the trail of Phillips with the help of his wife Hester. The plot is tightly written with a twist here and there. The horrors that individuals inflict on their fellows is at times unthinkable, but we read on hoping for the villains to get their just due in the end.

What is just as enthralling as the plot is the depiction of the docks and side streets of Victorian London. It is very easy to close our eyes and summon up the gloomy, mist-shrouded docks as well as the smells that permeate the heavy air. We can easily follow Monk in our mind's eye as he tramps London's bleak streets and alleys to bring Phillips to justice. Phillips once escaped the hangman's noose and Monk is determined not to let it happen again.

Perry gives us glimpses into her characters' minds as they wrestle with their own consciences as well as others' misdoings. She presents with an insight that is illuminating to read as she explore her characters' motives. Makes us dig a little deeper into our own motivations for our own actions.

Execution Dock is a wonderful book and is not to be missed. Perry has not written of Monk for three years and he is very welcome back on the scene.

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