Lawless & The Devil of Euston Square
Murder. Vice. Pollution. Delays on the Tube. Some things never change…London 1859-62. A time of great exhibitions, foreign conquests and underground trains. But the era of Victorian marvels is also the time of the Great Stink. With cholera and depravity never far from the headlines, it’s not only the sewers that smell bad.Novice detective, Campbell Lawless, stumbles onto the trail of Berwick Skelton, an elusive revolutionary, seemingly determined to bring London to its knees through a series of devilish acts of terrorism.But cast into a lethal, intoxicating world of music hall hoofers, industrial sabotage and royal scandal, will Lawless survive long enough to capture this underworld nemesis, before he unleashes his final vengeance on a society he wants wiped from the face of the Earth?Lawless & The Devil of Euston Square is the first of a series of historical thrillers by William Sutton set during the mid-nineteenth century, featuring Metropolitan policeman, Campbell Lawless, aka the Watchman, on his rise through the ranks and his initiation as a spy.Before Holmes, there was Lawless…Before Campbell Lawless, the London streets weren’t safe to walk…

Lawless & The Devil of Euston Square Details

TitleLawless & The Devil of Euston Square
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJul 30th, 2013
PublisherExhibit A
ISBN-139781909223257
Rating
GenreMystery, Historical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Crime, Victorian, Science Fiction, Steampunk

Lawless & The Devil of Euston Square Review

  • Paul
    January 1, 1970
    I’ve discovered over the last couple of years that I really enjoy historical crime fiction. Taking the staples of a good mystery and adding the extra wrinkle of a different time period can really breathe new life into the genre. Authors like Sarah Pinborough and Lynn Shepherd have produced novels that are hugely entertaining, marvellously evocative and a pleasure to read. William Sutton’s debut, set in Victorian England, treads similar ground. The big question is though, does it deliver?Things g I’ve discovered over the last couple of years that I really enjoy historical crime fiction. Taking the staples of a good mystery and adding the extra wrinkle of a different time period can really breathe new life into the genre. Authors like Sarah Pinborough and Lynn Shepherd have produced novels that are hugely entertaining, marvellously evocative and a pleasure to read. William Sutton’s debut, set in Victorian England, treads similar ground. The big question is though, does it deliver?Things get off to a good start, Sutton’s writing vividly brings the hustle and bustle of Victorian London to life. The capital is still caught in the vast changes brought about by the Industrial Revolution. You can sense the frenetic energy of the city. Everyone has a purpose, the good news from the reader’s perspective is that in some cases that purpose is utterly nefarious.The politics and imperialism of the age play an important role in the plot. This was a time when the sun never set on the British Empire. There were very distinct class boundaries and Sutton weaves the social issues of the day into his narrative. The crippling poverty of the underclasses and the rampant expansionism of the industrials elite are explored.Lawless meets people from every strata of society, from royalty to the inmates of the local asylum. In a nice touch, that adds an air of authenticity to proceedings, famous faces of the time also drift in an out of the story. Certain scenes are like a veritable who’s who of the mid nineteenth century. I’ll not spoil anything by mentioning who appears, you can discover that for yourself.The novice detective is very much the rookie when we first meet him. He has good instincts, but doesn’t always trust them. It’s always refreshing to discover a protagonist beset with doubts, it gives things a nice realistic tone. It also bodes well for the future. There is room for the character to develop and grow.Chief Inspector Wardle is the close-lipped mentor that Lawless finds at Scotland Yard. Perhaps not quite the inspirational leader that the young policeman was hoping for Wardle still manages to impart his wisdom in his own unique way. The relationship between student and teacher is a highlight as it evolves. Lawless initially flounders around, trying to second guess what his boss expects of him, but as the case progresses he grows in confidence.I love the language used in this novel. Lawless is from Edinburgh and his Scottish twang is pitch perfect (I’ll even go so far as to say that even though he is from the east coast, and I hail from the west, I warmed to the character). The language of the streets is also an important aspect of Lawless’ first investigation. The Worms, a street gang not unlike Conan-Doyle’s Baker Street Irregulars, have a patois all of their own. It’s almost as though you’re getting a mini-mystery every time one of them opens their mouth. There is a character called the Professor who I particularly liked. Personally I’ve always been a fan of the Victorian era, at an impressionable age I discovered George MacDonald Fraser and his disreputable anti-hero Flashman and I’ve been hooked ever since. I’ve always marvelled a bit at the pomp and ceremony of this particular time period. I just love the way people talk to one another, terribly proper and all that. Phrases like “old cove” are a delight.It’s interesting to note that the problems that Lawless faces during the process of his investigations aren’t massively different from the issues that still effect large cities now. Gangs, blackmail and political corruption aren’t a new invention and in addition to this the 19th century also had plenty of gruesome crimes all of it’s own.Can I make a suggestion? Those of you who enjoy a bit of music while you’re reading may wish to consider the Sherlock Holmes soundtrack by Hans Zimmer while reading this novel. It’s the perfect accompaniment. Discombobulate indeed!Lawless and The Devil of Euston Square is published by Exhibit A Books and is available now. This is a fun, energetic debut and a quick check of the author’s website promises another two enigmatically monickered novels – Lawless and the Flowers of Sin, Lawless and the Maestro of Assassins. You can definitely count me in for both, by jove.
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  • Russell Mark Olson
    January 1, 1970
    Having read some of the few reviews here, I have to disagree. Yes, there is a lot of detail. No, it isn't a traditional crime novel. BUT, it is a wonderful guide through Victorian London, filled with all of the details you'd expect from a travel journal. On top of that, the unconventional and ambiguous relationship between crime stopper and criminal is at the very least, novel, if not inspired. I'd highly recommend it.
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  • Charley Robson
    January 1, 1970
    This review comes in three parts. The good, the bad, and the fishy.First of all, the Good: we were not yet three chapters in, and Campbell Lawless had already secured my interest, empathy, and a place among my favourite literary detectives (watch out, Poirot, your spot's not looking too secure right now). The narrative, told predominantly from Campbell's perspective, is readable, engaging, and at times startlingly funny. Meanwhile, the plot is a strong one and, despite the author's disclaimer, b This review comes in three parts. The good, the bad, and the fishy.First of all, the Good: we were not yet three chapters in, and Campbell Lawless had already secured my interest, empathy, and a place among my favourite literary detectives (watch out, Poirot, your spot's not looking too secure right now). The narrative, told predominantly from Campbell's perspective, is readable, engaging, and at times startlingly funny. Meanwhile, the plot is a strong one and, despite the author's disclaimer, betrays a certain degree of depth in his research - though, as a sarcastic scrawl from the book's previous owner notes in the middle of a paragraph and in a library book too, you monster, a lot of words and concepts are used that didn't exist at the time, and it seems like a condensed timeline is definitely in place. There are a lot of names and faces and agendas to keep track of, but once one has their head around the central cast, it's a lovely, wiggly, tangly, inter-twined story about corruption and aspiration and politics and revolution. Karl Marx even makes a cameo, much to my amusement.The final strong point comes in the form of the supporting characters. While I feel there's a few too many of them, those that stick around are wonderful. Worm was my favourite by a long stretch, though Ruth the clever librarian was not far behind. And here we have another recipient for an award of Compelling Female Characters In Historical Fiction, who doesn't use the excuse of "realism" to relegate all the ladies to the sidelines and/or stereotypes. The women we meet (scant as they are) are compelling, dynamic, and all have lives and stories of their own. And while I found Ruth's occasional interjection into the narrative confusing (especially where the time periods shifted), she's just as enjoyable a narrator as Campbell. Can she get her own series, please, Mr Sutton?However, here we touch upon the first elements of the Bad. That is, the writing style. As well as Campbell and Ruth as our central narrators, we also get interjections from newspapers, notes from side characters, and random asides from a dozen other sources that never fail to break flow and significantly confuse an already very busy plot often to the point that you forget what's going on altogether. The breaks in flow resulted in me putting the book down for long stretches, my immersion broken and my desire to return to the story massively jeapordised. I like dense mysteries, but once it gets too confused there's no point going back, because what's the point in following a plot you've long since lost?The over-abundance of side characters and red herrings adds to this problem, frequently confusing the plot and undermining some very powerful moments - not to mention massively giving the game away in terms of plot twists and character motivations. Outsmarting a fictional detective isn't unusual for me, especially young ones still learning the ropes, but I'm pretty sure a brain-dead budgerigar could have made better assessments than Campbell on several occasions.And, finally, we will conclude on the Fishy. This mainly hinges on the ending, which feels ... well, just a little too tidy. I think it's trying to be ambiguous, leaving the reader to dwell on the nature of power and evil and corruption, but its desire to explain how many of the (often pointless) side characters wound up years later kills that in the cradle. Especially as this book purports to be the first of a series. Telling me what happens ten years down the line doesn't exactly allow much for a book set two years after the first. Still, I will probably pick it up, if only for more accidentally hilarious remarks about confused Scottish policemen envisaging massive be-whiskered seals riding steam locomotives down the Thames.
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  • Megan
    January 1, 1970
    This is not your traditional murder-mystery novel. The book does not revolve solely on a crime committed and the finding of those criminals. I found that a little difficult to deal with at times. The novel began with a crime, a confusing one at most, and then it kind of left the crime and described more about the detectives life and his day-to-day experiences. Then, a chapter would come along that would bring up the original crime from the 1st chapter and they would progress on it and then... th This is not your traditional murder-mystery novel. The book does not revolve solely on a crime committed and the finding of those criminals. I found that a little difficult to deal with at times. The novel began with a crime, a confusing one at most, and then it kind of left the crime and described more about the detectives life and his day-to-day experiences. Then, a chapter would come along that would bring up the original crime from the 1st chapter and they would progress on it and then... they would stop. Most of the chapters would be tangents along the line from the original crime but in an almost evasive manner. At times I forgot what the original crime even was! The characters were likable for the most part, but I didn't really feel like you got an in depth feel of them. I think I felt confused more often then not while reading this book. I wouldn't really recommend this to anyone because, I don't know how I would do so. However, my reasoning for three stars is because although it was a confusing read, the writing itself wasn't horrendous. The time period details were done very well and that I appreciate it. The book does transport you to Victorian London. Just be prepared to be lost within said period.
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  • Andrea Stoeckel
    January 1, 1970
    [I received this book from GoodReads/First Reads. And I thank them in advance for their generosity. However, I was not compensated otherwise and my opinions are my own. Now you know, and knowing's half the battle ;)]Thank goodness it's NOT Steampunk! However, it is a "penny dreadful" Victoriana mystery, emphasis on dreadful.Campbell Lawless is a wanna be ANYTHING than what he sees himself: a son who let down his father. He gets involved in such a mixed up mess I never could figure it out. He was [I received this book from GoodReads/First Reads. And I thank them in advance for their generosity. However, I was not compensated otherwise and my opinions are my own. Now you know, and knowing's half the battle ;)]Thank goodness it's NOT Steampunk! However, it is a "penny dreadful" Victoriana mystery, emphasis on dreadful.Campbell Lawless is a wanna be ANYTHING than what he sees himself: a son who let down his father. He gets involved in such a mixed up mess I never could figure it out. He was an unfortunate soul prior to joing the force, and then Scotland Yard; bad with romance, family dynamics, tact and fashion, he gets embittered searching for the culprit. I still have no clue as to whether or not he solved it.I do like Sutton's descriptions. The women and children are well developed. I loved the librarian....but was not charmed by the book. sorry, its a pass
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  • Jigdaman
    January 1, 1970
    I read this book under the previous title, but am glad that the interest persists in an author who is witty, quirky, and able to paint a historical scene packed full of interesting anecdotes and observations. Like Holmes, the crime solving is edgy and fraught with danger, but I like the way that Lawless's moral compass takes a different bearing, and makes him, to me, an easier character to relate to. The nods to historical figures are fun, if a little forced. I hope to read more from the author, I read this book under the previous title, but am glad that the interest persists in an author who is witty, quirky, and able to paint a historical scene packed full of interesting anecdotes and observations. Like Holmes, the crime solving is edgy and fraught with danger, but I like the way that Lawless's moral compass takes a different bearing, and makes him, to me, an easier character to relate to. The nods to historical figures are fun, if a little forced. I hope to read more from the author, the book has some decent strands to continue from; but I also feel his style of writing could cover a number of different historical eras and conjure up fictional magic within them.
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  • edifanob
    January 1, 1970
    This is much more than a Victorian crime novel taking place in London. There parts which sound more like a social novel and a historical novel. But it is all interwoven. I laved to follow Campbell Lawless and Ruth Villliers.I look forward to read Lawless and the Flowers of Sin which will be published in August 2014.
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  • Claire
    January 1, 1970
    Very enjoyable historical romp. A tad long, I got a little confused at points, though that's possibly more my bad memory than anything else. The writing was exquisite to my untrained eye; I felt like I was in Victorian London. I have learned some marvellous insults too!
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  • Donna Craig
    January 1, 1970
    Well-written but not my cup of tea. It was too long. I enjoyed reading it though.
  • Mieneke
    January 1, 1970
    Victorian London never goes out of style. Whether it's straight historical fiction, historical crime fiction, steampunk, or historical fantasy, there are always novels slated to be published or recently published that are set in Victorian times and often for significant portion in London. Lawless & the Devil of Euston Square is one of the more recent examples of this phenomenon. It is set in a vibrant period in London's history during the building of the Tube and around the passing of Prince Victorian London never goes out of style. Whether it's straight historical fiction, historical crime fiction, steampunk, or historical fantasy, there are always novels slated to be published or recently published that are set in Victorian times and often for significant portion in London. Lawless & the Devil of Euston Square is one of the more recent examples of this phenomenon. It is set in a vibrant period in London's history during the building of the Tube and around the passing of Prince Albert. Focussing on the early, career-making cases at the Yard of Scotsman Campbell Lawless, this is a fun historical crime novel. Lawless is a sympathetic character. He isn't a savant such as Holmes or Pinborough's Dr Bond, but he's hard-working and dogged in his pursuit of his investigations. He's also young and idealistic, at times almost naively so. We follow him through his first three years with the Yard and we see him lose some of that youthful idealism and becoming not quite jaded, but a little rough around the edges. Most of the abrading of his shiny polish is done by his superior, Inspector Wardle. Lawless' gruff governor and mentor was amusing and a mix of proud investigator and someone just serving out his time. He's a staunch royalist and a fixer for the royal family, which allows Sutton to bring in some rather famous faces in for a cameo in the narrative. In addition to the royal cameos, Lawless also meets people like Karl Marx and Charles Dickens and several of the important political figures of the time. Not as famous, but perhaps far more endearing and captivating are The Euston Square Worms, particularly their leader Worm and his young associate The Professor. One of the numerous packs of street kids trying to survive by running errands and messages, they are the runners of choices for the Yard. I loved their scruffy tenacity and precocious maturity.However, my favourite character in the book was Ruth Villiers and, no, that's not because she's a librarian, at least that's not the main reason. No, I love Ruth because she's a woman who breaks out of the role society has decreed for her and chooses to follow her own path; in this case, studying at university with the help of her aunt and working at the British Library to be able to eat. And she just about knocks Lawless over the head to make him notice she's interested in him beyond professional reasons. Not exactly the demure and virtuous society lady of the times. This woman is given agency of her own and she chooses to take it. The villains of the story were various and of a varying degree of villainy. And that's all I'm going to say about them so as to not give too much away about the story.The plot of the book was super intricate and at time became a bit jumbled, in the sense that there are several cases running together and sometimes I had to go back and straighten out which discovery linked to which case. The structure of the book was both a help and a hindrance in this respect. A hindrance due to the parts, or periods as they are called, which leave quite some temporal gaps between them, but the help there is that the structure is overall the same for each period: a report from The Bugle, a local London newspaper followed by chapters from Lawless' point of view, unless stated otherwise in the chapter headings. I found this structure and the forms of narration in each period: newspaper, Lawless' accounts, Ruth's accounts, quite pleasing, though the book takes place over a far longer period than I expected (over three years) and it would have been interesting to have the passage of time illustrated by Lawless also handling other cases than just Berwick Skelton's crimes, the Skeleton Thefts, and archiving Wardle's case files of the past twenty years. Still, the resolution and the ending of the book were very well-done and quite satisfying. They also made sure that there are no annoying loose ends in case there wouldn't be a second Lawless book, which thankfully there will be.In short, I enjoyed Lawless & the Devil of Euston Square quite a lot. Its characters were easy to connect to and the mystery at its centre captivating. I'm very much looking forward to spending more time with Lawless and Ruth in the future. Lawless & the Devil of Euston Square is a great example of what historical crime can be and Campbell Lawless is a wonderful new hero.This book was provided for review by the publisher.
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  • Nikki-ann
    January 1, 1970
    (Review originally posted at Notes of LifeLawless and The Devil of Euston Square isn’t a thriller, but more of a good old fashioned Victorian mystery. Just when Campbell Lawless thinks he’s on top of it all, he soon finds he’s still two steps behind. Will he ever crack the case? Well, he’s not about to let it drop.Campbell Lawless is a likeable fellow from the start. We get his background and a good idea of who he is early on. He wants to do things right and this is his first case.Sutton has cle (Review originally posted at Notes of LifeLawless and The Devil of Euston Square isn’t a thriller, but more of a good old fashioned Victorian mystery. Just when Campbell Lawless thinks he’s on top of it all, he soon finds he’s still two steps behind. Will he ever crack the case? Well, he’s not about to let it drop.Campbell Lawless is a likeable fellow from the start. We get his background and a good idea of who he is early on. He wants to do things right and this is his first case.Sutton has cleverly managed to slip several real-life famous people into the story and has given them his own take on their personalities, among them Charles Dickens, Prince Albert and Prince Edward make appearances. Even the character of Nellie was a real-life actress who engaged in a sexual relationship with the young prince, although transplanted from Ireland where Prince Edward really met her to Sutton’s Victorian London.Not only do famous people make appearances and take part in the story, but famous events and inventions do too. The beginnings of London Underground very much have a part in the story, as does the 1862 International Exhibition.You really do get a feel for the time. London has always been an ever-changing city, but was even more so during the Victorian times and Sutton’s Lawless reflects this, with the railways (underground and overground) and sewerage systems all having their effect on the city. I found the sights and smells described vivid and felt like I was transported back, following Campbell Lawless as he went about his business.There seems to be quite a lot of characters at play in this book. At times one or two would be called by their first name and then by their surname, rather than sticking to being called by one or the other, which I found confusing at times. After jogging my memory, I would realise who they were talking about and would carry on reading.I liked how the ending of the story was all wrapped up neatly. The narrators look back over the events which happened 50 years previously, summing up their thoughts on the matter.When I read this book, I had no idea that it was the first in a series. Now that I know it is the first of three scheduled books in the Campbell Lawless Victorian Mysteries series, I’m really looking forward to meeting Campbell Lawless again and following him as he investigates his next mystery. Of course, I’m also hoping one or two characters from The Devil of Euston Square may make a surprise appearance too.On the whole, I found Lawless and The Devil of Euston Square to be a really enjoyable read. It made a nice change of pace to my usual crime thriller fiction, but still provided a bit of thrill when it came to the chase. A wonderful set of characters and an atmospheric story.Recommended!
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  • Mick
    January 1, 1970
    Euston Square station, 1859. Newly arrived in London from Scotland, rookie policeman Constable Campbell Lawless finds himself involved in a bizarre case when a water-powered crane malfunctions, apparently killing a vagrant and damaging a priceless clock in the process. Only it turns out that the vagrant was dead before the crane malfunctioned, and the clock mechanism wasn't so much damaged as missing entirely. Lawless doesn't know it, but this is the beginning of a case which will haunt him thro Euston Square station, 1859. Newly arrived in London from Scotland, rookie policeman Constable Campbell Lawless finds himself involved in a bizarre case when a water-powered crane malfunctions, apparently killing a vagrant and damaging a priceless clock in the process. Only it turns out that the vagrant was dead before the crane malfunctioned, and the clock mechanism wasn't so much damaged as missing entirely. Lawless doesn't know it, but this is the beginning of a case which will haunt him throughout his entire career. Campbell Lawless is not Sherlock Holmes. He's not a brilliant detective, or a genius, but he's a clever, stubborn, and hard-working investigator and over three years his investigation brings him into contact with anarchists and street urchins, revolutionaries, criminals, famous authors, royalty, and most importantly, the librarian-detective Miss Villers. The first non-contemporary release from crime imprint Exhibit A, Lawless & The Devil of Euston Square: Introducing Campbell Lawless is not a thriller as such. Rather, it's a long, intricate, and drawn-out investigation which at times wallows in the details of life in Victorian London, and at 528 pages the mystery has plenty of room to breathe. Nonetheless, it's a rewarding read for those who stick with it to the end.
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  • Caroline Lambe
    January 1, 1970
    Of course I'm utterly biased, working for the publisher, but Will Sutton has created a fantastic beginning to a wonderful series here. Worm is certainly my favourite character, and for anyone with a Holmes-esque reading interest, this book should be right up your Victorian street!
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  • Breakaway Reviewers
    January 1, 1970
    Victorian London comes to life. This book is written in a totally different style from anything I have read before. Maybe that is why, to begin with, I struggled with following the plot as it seemed to bounce about from one plot to another and from various different characters from all layers of Victorian life.Campbell Lawless is a young Scotsman who has joined the police force in London and who, at the start of the book, has just been summoned to help out Inspector Wardle at Scotland Yard. His Victorian London comes to life. This book is written in a totally different style from anything I have read before. Maybe that is why, to begin with, I struggled with following the plot as it seemed to bounce about from one plot to another and from various different characters from all layers of Victorian life.Campbell Lawless is a young Scotsman who has joined the police force in London and who, at the start of the book, has just been summoned to help out Inspector Wardle at Scotland Yard. His first case happens in the middle of the night when an act of sabotage has taken place at Euston Station leaving behind a dead body. Campbell is determined to find the perpetrators of this crime but everyone, including Inspector Wardle, seems to want to gloss over the incident. From this incident, a whole story unfolds revolving around the mysterious Berwick Skelton who is a revolutionary plotting to take revenge on the upper classes and in particular the profligate Prince of Wales who has stolen his former fiancée.This book really brings Victorian London to life. It is full of characters both fictitious and real, and the plot completely drew me in. Campbell begins to realise how difficult it is to solve crimes when there is a connection to the rich and famous. He mixes with royalty, famous authors and engineers but also with young boys who spend their lives running messages or working in the sewers. He is able to convey how Britain was in this era, an age of the railways when engineers are revered. He vividly brings to life the distinct class boundaries between the rich and poor and his characterisations are extremely well-drawn.I loved the dialogue of the various characters which brought them all to life and the solving of the crime was very well explained. After the first 50 pages, I found myself getting drawn into the story and wanting to know what had really happened. The good news for me is that this was the author’s first case introducing Campbell Lawless but he has subsequently written two more and I have both of them! I am really looking forward to continuing my acquaintance with Inspector Lawless and reading about his next two cases.DexterBreakaway Reviewers received a copy of the book to review
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  • Chazzi
    January 1, 1970
    It is the Victorian era in London and rather than stay employed with his father in the watch making and repair trade, Campbell Lawless chooses to go into police work with an eye towards working for Scotland Yard. He is assigned to Inspector Wardle and finds his duties are filing and repairing watches for various members of the department. Not what he expected, until his presence is required at the scene of a horrendous crime of sabotage. What is taken at face value is not what Lawless sees. He f It is the Victorian era in London and rather than stay employed with his father in the watch making and repair trade, Campbell Lawless chooses to go into police work with an eye towards working for Scotland Yard. He is assigned to Inspector Wardle and finds his duties are filing and repairing watches for various members of the department. Not what he expected, until his presence is required at the scene of a horrendous crime of sabotage. What is taken at face value is not what Lawless sees. He feels there is more to the scene and some of what is apparent is just window dressing.Doing some investigating on his own, he finds that there is a connection to a known revolutionary who has become elusive; the missing internal workings of a number of time pieces; an army of urchins who work in the sewer system of London; and underground railway system that is being built, and the Prince of Wales. What those connections are seem just out of his grasp and a bit disjointed. But they do point to something that will be of great consequences on London and its workings.Through dogged persistence and some wrong decisions, Lawless continues to investigate on his own, finding there is corruption and cover-up in the various levels of society, even the ones he is a part of .I found that I wanted to continue reading each section and that I would find myself thinking about what was happening in the book. It did seem a bit jagged at times, but it did fit togther well, as it was written at various points and not within a time frame of weeks or months, but from 1859 to 1862. There was just enough description of the characters and life of that era to give a good backdrop but not take over the action of the characters.A Goodread!
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  • Stella Bahin
    January 1, 1970
    Review Lawless and the Devil of Euston SquareThe strength and subtleties of author William Sutton’s plotting is one of his great fortés. Our temporal perspective within Sutton’s Victorian London setting veers, easily, from second by second close-up minutia, to a soaring bird’s-eye-view passing-by of months. Sutton’s vision is complete; the story will hold. The story, is a most understated love story. Perhaps that’s because it’s a crime novel (and a love story). The love story element, pulsating Review Lawless and the Devil of Euston SquareThe strength and subtleties of author William Sutton’s plotting is one of his great fortés. Our temporal perspective within Sutton’s Victorian London setting veers, easily, from second by second close-up minutia, to a soaring bird’s-eye-view passing-by of months. Sutton’s vision is complete; the story will hold. The story, is a most understated love story. Perhaps that’s because it’s a crime novel (and a love story). The love story element, pulsating and compelling as it is, is about as noticeable in the telling as the reader’s breathing-matter is noticeably air: we needn’t think about it, but we’d somewhat miss it if it were absent. Hereby demonstrating the extent of Sutton’s understatement with the ‘somewhat’. Yes, Lawless and the Devil of Euston Square allows the reader to wonder; it’s all there, with every end tightened in a tasteful bow by the denouement; but it’s not, by any means, (and also-satisfyingly) all stated.What it does state is revealed at what feels like the right rate, and sometimes, to the reader’s greatly entertained surprise.As varied as it is in pace, it’s also varied in the emotions it provokes. On one page, inciting out-loud laughter when protagonist Detective Lawless has, out of exasperation, threatened to give a likeable young associate of his, Worm, the legal comeuppance that would be no more than his due. The undernourished youngster is holding half a meat tartlet that Lawless has kindly bought him, Worm having already cut the donated tart in two for sharing in kindly return with the also hungry-looking Lawless. He now takes a bite of it, before drily and calmly replying, in the face of his imminent ruin: “My. Excuse me talking while I’m eating, but you have given me something to chew on.” A few pages on – no spoilers – inciting poignant tears. Like a proper, transporting, and escape-providing novel should, I think. It did me good.
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  • Kristen
    January 1, 1970
    I think the best way I can describe this book is "overly-ambitious". There is a good story in there, but there was way too much padding and flotsam and jetsam stuffed in that overwhelmed that good story. 2.5 stars really, but I couldn't give it the third star in my rating because of the faults.Basically, this is a really good 300-page book that is unfortunately delivered in 500+ pages. Let me be fair - I am automatically suspicious of a 500-page novel. I wouldn't say it's impossible to write a g I think the best way I can describe this book is "overly-ambitious". There is a good story in there, but there was way too much padding and flotsam and jetsam stuffed in that overwhelmed that good story. 2.5 stars really, but I couldn't give it the third star in my rating because of the faults.Basically, this is a really good 300-page book that is unfortunately delivered in 500+ pages. Let me be fair - I am automatically suspicious of a 500-page novel. I wouldn't say it's impossible to write a great novel that is that long, but if you are going to ask a reader to commit the kind of time it takes to read 500 pages, you had best have a book that makes me loathe to put it down because the story and the pacing are so thrilling that I cannot bear to put it down. Anything less with a book that large and I am going to be annoyed and feel taken advantage of by the author. There - now you know my preconceptions about long novels. This book did not justify 500 pages.As I said, there is a good story here. I liked the characters - pretty much all of them, even the supporting characters - were colourful, clever and quirky, and they were given interesting things to do. There is also some great humour in the writing and the things the characters say and do and I liked that quite a bit.If this book had been aggressively edited and pared down by a couple of hundred pages and kept more tightly focused on just the main story I probably would have given it three or maybe even four stars. As it is, I skimmed A LOT to just read the important stuff related to the main plot, and that is a negative in my books. I doubt I will read others in this series.
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  • Heather
    January 1, 1970
    This one started out kind of slowly for me. And I'm not sure why. Because once I got about a third of the way in, I didn't WANT to put it down, but I HAD to occasionally. A Victorian era mystery, the characters are very well written. And I actually had to look up some of the slang, so I learned some fun things, too. I've added the next two books to my Amazon wishlist, so I'll definitely be reading them in the future.
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  • Rachael
    January 1, 1970
    I would actually give it 3.5 stars, but that’s not an option. I enjoyed the storylines and how the author brought everything together at the end. Much like Hugo’s “Les Miserables”, this book is both entertaining and sobering at the same time. I look forward to reading the rest in the series.
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  • Andy Doyle
    January 1, 1970
    Lawless and the Devil of Euston Square is written very similarly to the Sherlock Holmes books. This one is told from “Watson”’s perspective and it’s difficult to decide if “Holmes” is good or bad. This is not my normal style book but I greatly enjoyed it!
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  • Emma Palmer
    January 1, 1970
    Good Victorian mystery, fun and interesting characters. Nice to have a mystery that doesn't revolve around murder. Like the links to historical developments. Will be reading the rest of the series.
  • David Ledeboer
    January 1, 1970
    Lawless and The Devil of Euston Square struck me as an enigma of sorts. The whole pre-”Sherlock Holmes” detective gambit and Victorian era had me running around in pandemic circles; I absolutely had to read this story. Here is the snippet on the back:“London, 1859. Novice detective, Campbell Lawless, stumbles onto the trail of Berwick Skelton, an elusive revolutionary, threatening to bring the city to its knees with devilish acts of terror.Thrust into a lethal, intoxicating world of sabotage and Lawless and The Devil of Euston Square struck me as an enigma of sorts. The whole pre-”Sherlock Holmes” detective gambit and Victorian era had me running around in pandemic circles; I absolutely had to read this story. Here is the snippet on the back:“London, 1859. Novice detective, Campbell Lawless, stumbles onto the trail of Berwick Skelton, an elusive revolutionary, threatening to bring the city to its knees with devilish acts of terror.Thrust into a lethal, intoxicating world of sabotage and royal scandal – and aided by a gang of street urchins and a vivacious librarian – Lawless sets out to capture his underworld nemesis before he unleashes his final vengeance.”So, sounds smashingly brilliant, am I right? Now that I’ve read it and enjoyed it, I’ve come to the conclusion that I didn’t love it as much as I was expecting to. The book starts out on fire with intrigue, water pipe eruptions, brilliant displays of setting and the tongue of the common-folk which at times was a bit tricky for me to follow. I felt like I stepped into a whole different world straight from the past and it transitioned so smoothly as if William Sutton was a simple newspaper writer, sitting on a bench detailing the daily events of the time. On a side note, Lawless and The Devil of Euston square is stock full of possible suspects and conspirators.I tried paying close attention to each detail, trying to be a world renowned sleuth of my own means, locking on to each tiny detail in an attempt to garner a broader glimpse of the wheels in motion behind scenes. But, after a while… it began to drag.The drag really hurt the book and sad to say, I started feeling little care anymore about whether the crime / intended crimes were solved or not by Lawless. What should have been a truly fantastic ending, seemed ill-placed when expecting it forty-or so pages earlier. To top it all off, our main hero, Lawless, in the end throws out some feelings on the conclusion of his case, that leave you even more flabbergasted as to why you should have even cared either if he doesn’t fully believe in his actions.Lawless and The Devil of Euston Square was a solid and substantial read. However, it might have been excellent if it had tightened up near the end a tad more. I think in a year or so, I might actually take second look into this one and reread it, gauging my review against a second glance. Lawless and The Devil of Euston Square has its highs and lows and I fully appreciate the skill of storytelling William Sutton possesses. This might be one of those rare novels in which I recommend simply reading it yourself to form a more personal opinion.
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  • Beth Kemp
    January 1, 1970
    Great start to a new Victorian detective series Strong setting, lots of clues and misdirects, intriguing characters: there’s a lot to enjoy in this debut detective novel from William Sutton, out 1 August through the new Exhibit A imprint from Angry Robot Books.Firstly the setting: Victorian London. This was rendered in glorious technicolour – or perhaps not so glorious, as it is the time of the Big Stink, after all! I felt that William Sutton really nailed the setting and transported me wholly t Great start to a new Victorian detective series Strong setting, lots of clues and misdirects, intriguing characters: there’s a lot to enjoy in this debut detective novel from William Sutton, out 1 August through the new Exhibit A imprint from Angry Robot Books.Firstly the setting: Victorian London. This was rendered in glorious technicolour – or perhaps not so glorious, as it is the time of the Big Stink, after all! I felt that William Sutton really nailed the setting and transported me wholly to another time and place. I particularly appreciated the various nods to the contemporary period and recent past; I thought the author did a great job of using the past to comment on the present, although please don’t think that’s the main point of the book. It is, first and foremost, a complex historical police procedural focusing on Campbell Lawless, a Scotsman new to Scotland Yard.In terms of plot and theme, this book is tightly wound. Encompassing terrorism, industrial strife, technology and the concept of progress, corruption and class issues, there is plenty to get caught up in here. Poor old Lawless has plenty to contend with to get in the way of solving the case, and it’s safe to say that I did not see the twists coming. Although there were points where I needed to re-read to get developments clear in my head, that was probably more to do with my fogged brain than the writing.The characters, as well as the setting, were a key strength of this book. William Sutton has a keen eye for detail and a great ear for dialogue and turns of phrase. There were so many distinctive and intriguing characters in this book! Lawless of course is great: an honest man who naively assumes that his job as a policeman is to find the truth (imagine!). Other highlights include Inspector Wardle, intimidating and worldly; the Worms, a band of street urchins who run errands and Ruth Villiers, a curious librarian with a keen sense of morality.I really enjoyed the way the story was told, as well. With regular newspaper extracts, contextualising the story’s events and showing how Lawless’s successes (and failings) are reported in the press, these extracts really add to the novel. I’m a sucker for multiple voices and unusual narrative devices, so I felt these added an interesting counterpoint to the main storytelling.Overall, I’d definitely recommend this as a solid police procedural, and I look forward to following Lawless’s future adventures also.
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  • Alana
    January 1, 1970
    The masterful writing of this book really does put you right there in the heart of Victorian London, you can see (and almost smell) every detail.The main character, Campbell Lawless, begins as quite a naive young detective and I loved seeing the way his character grew through the course of the book, his investigations knocking the naiveté out of him bit by bit.There are so many great characters in this book, from all walks of life, and I have a feeling they will stay with me for a long time. My The masterful writing of this book really does put you right there in the heart of Victorian London, you can see (and almost smell) every detail.The main character, Campbell Lawless, begins as quite a naive young detective and I loved seeing the way his character grew through the course of the book, his investigations knocking the naiveté out of him bit by bit.There are so many great characters in this book, from all walks of life, and I have a feeling they will stay with me for a long time. My favourites by far were Worm and The Professor, a couple of street kids that Lawless uses as runners, I think they will always have a place in my heart.My only criticism of this book is that on occasion I did get a little confused, there were so many secondary characters to keep track of that I sometimes got them mixed up. and that is the only reason I am not giving this book 5 stars.There are at least two more Campbell Lawless books in the pipeline and I can't wait to read them. If you like historical crime novels, then you need to read this book. I give Lawless and The Devil of Euston Square 4 out of 5 stars.Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.My Rating System:1 star: I will never post a 1 star review because this means it was so bad I couldn't finish it, and I don't won't publicly rate a book I haven't read all the way through.2 stars: I may have liked the story but it was badly written or it may have been a boring story well written. Something about it kept me reading but I didn't enjoy it.3 stars: A good, enjoyable read. If the description appeals to you I'd recommend reading it.4 stars: A really good book that I thoroughly enjoyed and may even read again. I will want to read other books by the same author. Highly recommend.5 stars: Reserved for books that blew me away and whose characters I can't get out of my head. These are books that I will definitely read again, possibly several times. If I read an e-book version I may even have to go buy a hard copy for my shelves. Why are you still here? Go read this book right now.
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  • Charlene
    January 1, 1970
    First in what will hopefully be a long and entertaining series.This book has everything I love in a mystery: well-developed characters, a crisply detailed setting, and a mystery as intricate and outrageously toothsome as a piece of brass clockwork. Campbell Lawless left his father's clock shop in Scotland with high hopes for becoming a crack investigator in Victorian London's police force. "As I saw it, repairing watches required subtle deductive powers" he reasons, only to become the force's "W First in what will hopefully be a long and entertaining series.This book has everything I love in a mystery: well-developed characters, a crisply detailed setting, and a mystery as intricate and outrageously toothsome as a piece of brass clockwork. Campbell Lawless left his father's clock shop in Scotland with high hopes for becoming a crack investigator in Victorian London's police force. "As I saw it, repairing watches required subtle deductive powers" he reasons, only to become the force's "Watch Man", stuck in a back room repairing the staff's recalcitrant timepieces. Then he's summoned to help veteran Scotland Yard Inspector Wardle investigate a bizarre crime: the death of an apparent vagrant when a water-powered crane--an "hydraulic devil"--bursts in front of the unfinished Underground station in bustling Euston Square. While the blast looks like simple sabotage aimed at HECC, the Hydraulic Engines Corporation of the Capital, questions quickly pile up. Lawless wants to prove himself to Wardle, but it's going to be an uphill battle for a London outsider. The investigation takes Lawless from the city's stinking sewers to the posh homes of the swelling business plutocracy, from the hovels of the displaced poor to the haunts of royalty. Throughout, Sutton captures the sooty grit and grime of Victorian England brilliantly,recreating the heady sense of a mighty city caught up in change, and the inhabitants who'll have to either get out of the way, or get ground up in the process. I can't wait for Lawless's next outing.Thanks to NetGalley and Angry Robot for the chance to read a review copy!
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  • Steph
    January 1, 1970
    This story is unlike any historical crime novel I’ve read before – it’s fascinating, witty and rather hilarious. Romping along at a jaunty pace, the story is filled with the sights, sounds and smells (and trust me, there are a lot of smells, many of them quite unpleasant!) of Victorian London, whisking you along for the ride.Campbell Lawless is finding his feet in the detecting profession. He throws himself into his cases, determined to uncover the mysteries behind the ‘great spouts’ of water th This story is unlike any historical crime novel I’ve read before – it’s fascinating, witty and rather hilarious. Romping along at a jaunty pace, the story is filled with the sights, sounds and smells (and trust me, there are a lot of smells, many of them quite unpleasant!) of Victorian London, whisking you along for the ride.Campbell Lawless is finding his feet in the detecting profession. He throws himself into his cases, determined to uncover the mysteries behind the ‘great spouts’ of water that spring up at strange locations across the city – outside the recently built Euston Station, at curtain call on a London stage to name a couple; why in a chain of seemingly impossible burglaries of wealthy houses little is taken, and who (and why) someone is stealing the workings of clocks.Aided by super-smart Librarian, Ruth Villiers, Lawless works tirelessly to piece together the clues he finds, whilst staying on the right side of his rather grumpy boss, Wardle. In the course of his adventure, Lawless has encounters with the men behind the new underground system, newspaper editors, actresses, revolutionaries, and even a Prince. Each player in the story is a well-drawn and fabulously larger-than-life character.
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  • Deniz
    January 1, 1970
    DNFI very very rarely don't finish a bookBut after 4tries I still couldn't get into it! So this will be a really short review. The biggest issue for me was definitely the writing style. It's just really not to my liking. But on top of that the whole thing was extremely long wound and had so many details added it became rather complicated to keep the storyline in mind. I do get what the author was trying to do. The fact that he tried to recreate that world and tried to portrait the society at tha DNFI very very rarely don't finish a bookBut after 4tries I still couldn't get into it! So this will be a really short review. The biggest issue for me was definitely the writing style. It's just really not to my liking. But on top of that the whole thing was extremely long wound and had so many details added it became rather complicated to keep the storyline in mind. I do get what the author was trying to do. The fact that he tried to recreate that world and tried to portrait the society at that time. But somehow it got lost in too much and it felt like he was trying to hard. Still there are aspects I did like, the whole entrepreneurial view of London at that point. The fact that the world was vastly changing thanks to visionary inventor and investors. I am not rating this, since I never got past the halfway mark. I found the different slangs impossible to understand. which made this beyond difficult to read. Add to that, the slow plot and that I didn't like the writing style. And this was mission impossible for meARC was provided by Publishers through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Sandra
    January 1, 1970
    This is one of my first reads that I won last year and I'm really glad I did!It took me a while to read this one, not sure whether it's due to the language or how the action unfolds in the story but somehow I enjoyed that it wasn't one of my "quick reads". I loved the characters, their quirks and growth over the time period; and how Sutton managed to get everyone in there from the beginning and make them come up at the end again, loved it!Since I love stories set in Victorian times, this was esp This is one of my first reads that I won last year and I'm really glad I did!It took me a while to read this one, not sure whether it's due to the language or how the action unfolds in the story but somehow I enjoyed that it wasn't one of my "quick reads". I loved the characters, their quirks and growth over the time period; and how Sutton managed to get everyone in there from the beginning and make them come up at the end again, loved it!Since I love stories set in Victorian times, this was especially fun with having Dickens and even the Royal family involved.Since I'm not that good at writing reviews, short version: I really liked it. It wasn't a quick read but a fun and interesting one with incredibly believable characters that you would like to meet in person for a cup of tea ;)
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  • Annie
    January 1, 1970
    Lawless and the Devil of Euston Square, by William Sutton, is the opening volume in a trilogy about Campbell Lawless. Lawless is a Scottish transplant to London. He joined the Metropolitan Police, looking for a life more exciting than repairing watches and clocks with his father. Unfortunately, being a low level constable in London in 1859 isn’t the righteous (in the old sense of the world, not the Bill and Ted sense of the word) adventure that he thought it would be...Read the rest of my review Lawless and the Devil of Euston Square, by William Sutton, is the opening volume in a trilogy about Campbell Lawless. Lawless is a Scottish transplant to London. He joined the Metropolitan Police, looking for a life more exciting than repairing watches and clocks with his father. Unfortunately, being a low level constable in London in 1859 isn’t the righteous (in the old sense of the world, not the Bill and Ted sense of the word) adventure that he thought it would be...Read the rest of my review at A Bookish Type. I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley for review consideration.
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  • Jo
    January 1, 1970
    Campbell Lawless moves to London thinking it would be better than life in Scotland. He becomes a police officer and one day finds himself working for Scotland Yard. He becomes embroiled in a case featuring attacks on hydraulics and is soon knee deep in shady businessmen, street urchins and revolutionaries. Aided by a lively librarian, he eventually solves all the interlinking crimes and the novel ends as if his memoirs have been published 50 years later upon his death. It was good although I was Campbell Lawless moves to London thinking it would be better than life in Scotland. He becomes a police officer and one day finds himself working for Scotland Yard. He becomes embroiled in a case featuring attacks on hydraulics and is soon knee deep in shady businessmen, street urchins and revolutionaries. Aided by a lively librarian, he eventually solves all the interlinking crimes and the novel ends as if his memoirs have been published 50 years later upon his death. It was good although I was a little disappointed as I thought it was going to be the start of a series. Still, I did enjoy it.
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