The Madness Underneath (Shades of London, #2)

First Lines: Back at Wexford, where I went to school before all of this happened to me, they made me play hockey every day.  I had no idea how to play hockey, so they covered me in padding and made me stand in the goal.  From the goal, I could watch my fellow players run around with sticks.  Occasionally they’d whack a small, very hard ball in my direction.  I would dive out of the way, every time.

If I could include more of Rory’s stories, I totally would.  She’s one of my favorite heroines simply because of her way of telling stories.  But I will definitely get to that soon.

*Potential Series Spoilers Ahead*

After barely surviving an attack in her school from a Jack the Ripper copycat, Rory Deveraux has gone to live with her parents in Bristol.  And no offense to them, but life there sucks.  When Rory’s therapist suddenly decides it’s a good idea for Rory to go back to Wexford, she jumps at the chance.  But her brush with death has affected her more than she could have believed.  Rory is what’s known as a human terminus.  She has the power to make ghosts disappear to the other side with a single touch.  She finds out that the Shades, the ghost police of London, are responsible for her return. While the Ripper may be gone, that doesn’t mean there aren’t other threats still in the city.  A few of the recent deaths seem more than coincidental to Rory.  Something dangerous is going on, and Rory needs to get to the bottom of it and convince her team of the danger before the danger finds them.

The reason I even got into this series was for the first book’s Jack the Ripper angle.  I really didn’t expect to like this one as much as that one.  But my goodness, I think I liked this one even better than the first one.

I think Rory’s finally found her voice in the story, not that she didn’t have it before.  But it’s distinctly Rory, and I think it’s hilarious.  Rory is a Southern belle in London, who doesn’t fit in, who loves to talk, and who will tell the most random stories when she gets nervous.  Oh my gosh, I nearly laughed out loud a couple of times.  She really doesn’t have a filter sometimes.  And I love it.  She reminds me of me.  I haven’t met too many heroines who seem to be bothered with this same affliction.  I can imagine that this style of talking/writing bothers some people, but I thought it was spectacular and added a layer of humor to an otherwise dark story.

I loved seeing some of the same old characters come back.  Frankly, I remembered very few of them by name.  I looked back at my helpful little notes, and that helped somewhat.  I really only remembered Stephen and Callum as well as Jazza, Rory’s roommate at school (though I didn’t remember her by name).  It was nice to see them again, and see how they changed.

The plot, I must say, was incredible.  Most of the story is told from Rory’s perspective, unless we’re seeing a snippet of the newest murder.  And the danger in the story starts fairly subtly.  I mean, yeah, I figured out one part of the plot pretty quickly that in turn made it a little obvious who the “bad guy” was, but I didn’t have it all figured out by the end.

And that ending!  The most painful ending I think I’ve read all summer.  I’ll be exaggerating to say I went into shock after reading it, but it sure felt like shock.  I walked around for the next few minutes going through the motions, but with my mind still on that ending.  So there you have it. You have been warned.

Overall, it was a fantastic read that makes me wonder why in the world I haven’t read more of Maureen Johnson’s books.

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