is a 2004 crime fiction novel
written by Laura Wilson
published in the United Kingdom by Orion Publishing Group
on 17 June
2004. A fictionalized account of the activities of a serial killer
known as Blackout Ripper
killing prostitutes in London during World
, the novel follows the viewpoints of three different
people, including the killer, as their individual lives begin to
It was released in the United States by Orion's American branch.
The novel was nominated for two 2004 Crime Writers' Association
awards. The French translation, released in 2005 by Albin Michel,
won the Prix Littéraires 2004 Prix du Polar Europeen. Critics
heavily praised the work, with British papers The Independent
and the Telegraph
s reviewers both selecting it as
one of the best novels of 2004.
Set in World War II
is a novel based on the real-life case of serial killer Gordon
, also known as the Blackout
. A 28-year old British airman, Cummins began strangling and mutilating
female prostitutes in London during the
bombing and subsequent blackout in the city.
The novel looks
at the events from three view points: a female prostitute with a
young son who is a potential victim, a woman who met Cummings and
became infatuated with him, and Cummins himself.
Orion Publishing Group
published the novel in the United Kingdom in hardback
from on 17 June 2004. It was published in
the United States the following week. The paperback
version was published in the United
Kingdom on 21 April 2005, and in the United States on June 28,
It was translated to French and released as L'Amant
on 1 April 2005 by Albin
was nominated for the Crime Writers' Association
Dagger and Ellis Peters Historical Dagger awards, but did not win
either. The French translation won the Prix Littéraires
2004 Prix du Polar
Europeen award for the "Best Crime Novel of the Year In
Translation" in 2004.
as one of its choices for best crime fiction
novel of 2004. Reviewer Jane Jakeman praised Wilson for her
"meticulous" research on historical elements of the novel and
considered the novel to be a "terrific read" that "continues the
Dickensian tradition of the London crime novel." The Telegraph
s Susanna Yager also chose the
novel as one of the top thriller's of 2004, noting that Wilson is
"very good at creating an authentic period atmosphere".
s David James felt the
novel was "compulsive reading" and praised Wilson's ability to
portray the "uneasy atmosphere" and provide the "perfect setting"
for story. The Birmingham
s Mike Ripley effusively praised the novel as being
"quite simply superb: not only the best thing she has written to
date, but certainly one of the best crime novels of the year." In
particular, he noted that Wilson provided a convincing view of
1940s London and her life-like characters.