An Evil Legacy by David Mallett
The story of Jack the Ripper is one that continues to hold the imagination. The human mind seems to be equally repulsed and horrifyingly intrigued by death, gore, and unsolved murders. Therefore, it is no surprise that when Detective Chief Inspector Alex Packard is given the opportunity to identify Jack the Ripper and finally put the case to rest, he jumps to take it. David Mallett’s novel, An Evil Legacy, chronicles Alex’s investigative journey as he tries to piece together the evidence, both physical and verbal, in Jack the Ripper’s case. However, after Alex catches his philandering wife with another man, again, he finds himself in a downward spiral. After making some rash decisions, he ends up in the hospital with a bullet in his leg, a shattered femur, a growing addiction to drugs, and a desperate need to find the international criminal, Michael Coglin. As Alex’s mental state deteriorates, the line between reality and delusions becomes blurred and it becomes possible that Jack the Ripper’s case will not be solved after all.
David Mallett’s trite title, An Evil Legacy, sets the reader up for a rather cookie cutter novel. The twists and turns that Mallett’s novel takes, while grim and gory, are not particularly surprising. While the novel addresses substance abuse, sexual advances in the workplace, depression, and a number of other heavy themes, the reader is left wanting more of a connection between these ideas to each other and to the core of the novel. While the mystery of Jack the Ripper will never grow cold, Mallett’s novel could make it more enticing with a few edits and a new title.
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