by Robert McCammon
Cover Artist: Vincent Chong
Review by Mel Jacob
Subterranean Press Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9781596062764
Date: 31 January 2010 List Price $24.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Not for the squeamish, Robert McCammon's latest novel, Mister Slaughter, features Matthew Corbett, an aspiring detective in Colonial American, hired to transport a serial killer to trial. However, greed defeats Matthew and his senior colleague and mentor, Hudson Greathouse, when Tyranthus Slaughter promises them a great treasure hidden in an old fort. When Greathouse attempts to open the treasure box, he is blinded by a pistol set to fire when anyone opens the box. Slaughter pounces on Greathouse and stabs him. He then dumps the man into the well and takes aim on Matthew. Attempting to escape death, Matthew descends into the well, but Slaughter tosses the rope in after him. With his enemies overcome, Slaughter leaves them for dead and flees with the treasure and their wagon.
Matthew now begins an odyssey, first to escape from the well and somehow pull out the wounded Greathouse as well. Some Indians chance upon them and help raise Greathouse, barely clinging to life from his wounds. The Indians take them to their village and nurse them. Matthew must now find and recover Slaughter.
Carnage and destruction follows Slaughter. He kills the innocent trusting settlers, but tortures his victims before killing them. Only Matthew's dogged will enables him to overcome injury and defeat. Each death adds to his determination to capture or kill Slaughter.
Speaks the Nightbird first introduced Matthew Corbett. The Queen of Bedlam, set in 1703 New York and filled with period detail, describes Matthew's next adventure. In it, he encountered the evil Professor Fell who shares characteristics of Sherlock Holmes' enemy Professor Moriarty. McCammon acknowledges his use of that inspiration. Never seen in Mister Slaughter, Fell makes his presence felt and his desire to eliminate Matthew becomes clear.
McCammon explains what liberties he has taken with history and unravels a tale of greed, horror, and a young man who despite his faults strives to do what is right. More adventures are forthcoming featuring Matthew.