The Midnight Band of Mercy
In 1893, Max Greengrass is a cub reporter in New York City trying to find his breakthrough news story. With the discovery of the corpses of four cats, Max thinks he has found a sensational piece to at least garner him some recognition. Little does he realize that this epidemic of cat killings – committed by a group who call themselves the Midnight Band of Mercy – is connected to a larger, sinister scheme involving eugenics and the reform movement.
The Midnight Band of Mercy did indeed exist in the early 1890s, but the mystery behind their works has never been solved. Here, Blaine presents his own thoroughly researched account of their actions in this richly detailed and absorbing novel. With his descriptions of the warring street factions and the growing economic crisis, Blaine has captured the ambience of a volatile city so vividly that the images remain after the last chapter ends. My one quibble would be that early on there is sometimes too much detail, overwhelming the story and character development. This is a minor criticism; Blaine plunges the reader into New York City in the 1890s and once immersed in it, this reader found it hard to leave.