Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Raven Review: Constable and Toop by Gareth P. Jones

All "Halloween" type reviews in October are dubbed Raven Reviews

Constable and Toop by Gareth P. Jones

Raven Review by Lauren

Source: library copy; all opinions are my own

Official Summary: Constable & Toop is a comic Victorian ghost story set in London 1884. Sam Toop is the son of a funeral director with the unfortunate ability to see and hear ghosts. But London’s dead are the least of his worries when murderous Uncle Jack comes to stay, seeking sanctuary from the law. Trouble is afoot on the ‘other side’ too when a ghost clerk called Lapsewood, working in the Bureau discovers that ghosts are mysteriously going missing. His investigations soon reveal a terrible disease known as the Black Rot, eating away at the haunted houses of London.

Review: Constable and Toop is a title that I came across one evening while working in the library. I read the back cover and immediately knew that I had to check it out. I'm definitely glad to have stumbled across Jones' ghost story and I hope some of you will follow my lead and find a copy to check out!

The book takes place in London, 1884. The setting is done really well. I could easily imagine the streets and buildings as Sam Toop and the various ghosts traveled around the city. Everything came alive, like viewing a movie on the screen. While Sam Toop is one of the main characters, as his ability to see and speak to ghosts leads him into the mystery of the Black Rot, the book follows more than just this young boy.

All points of view are in third-person, but each chapter can change from Sam Toop working in his dad's funeral home to Lapsewood, a ghost who has not yet crossed over and finds himself investigating London for a lost worker, to various ghosts that are met throughout the book. As a priest crosses London exorcising various ghosts, the buildings they occupied become fair game for what is known as the Black Rot, unless a new ghost wanders in. Then they are stuck. This happens to a worker and Lapsewood is sent to find her, using the help of a young Rogue ghost named Tanner. Rogue means they did not cross through the door after death but neither did they enter the ghostly workforce where everyone is kept in neat order. Instead, these ghosts roam the city streets, as free as they can be. Unfortunately, many of them get stuck in buildings and end up being horribly exorcised.

Once Lapsewood and Tanner learn more about the Black Rot, the story eventually reaches Sam, who has to decide to help or not. Throughout his life, Sam has tried to help as many ghosts as he could, but they are never thankful and sometimes they trick him into doing "bad" things. Sam is tired of it, just like he's tired of his Uncle Jack hiding in their home, when he's wanted for murder. But Jack has many secrets, and Sam ultimately becomes tangled up in more than one mystery.

The various point of views might sound daunting, but don't worry. It's mostly Sam and Lapeswood, and all the other narrations are easy to follow and important to the overall story. Constable and Toop is a unique ghost story that had me forming deep connections with the characters, even the ones we don't know for very long. I highly recommend this one!

14 comments:

Melliane said...

I'm always cautious with many POVs because I'm ealisy lost but I'm glad it worked here. I really didn't know about this one before so thank you for introducing it to me.

Erika Sorocco said...

Oh, this one sounds brilliant - I must check it out!!

xx

Kindlemom said...

The late 19th century London is one of my most favorite time periods to read about because so much was happening and changing there.
This sounds wonderful!

Tracy Terry said...

Great review, everything about this book from the cover to the synopsis shouts read me.

Liviania said...

I read this one last year for the Cybils! I'm not surprised the cover caught your eye - it is absolutely gorgeous!

Heidi@Rainy Day Ramblings said...

I can handle mutiple POVs and I like the ghostly aspect of this one. Thanks for putting it on my radar.

Jennifer Spencer said...

Hey! :) I have nominated you for the Liebster Award! Go check it out!

http://innerworkingsofthefemalemind.wordpress.com/2014/10/30/award-time/

If you do partake, make sure to post the link to your entry in my comment section. I would love to read your post! xx

Tanja - Tanychy said...

I haven't heard of this one but London in 1884 sounds so good! I'm so glad that it was well done here. Thanks for sharing and great review, Lauren :)

cleemckenzie said...

If varying POVs are well handled, I'm fine reading the book. This one sounds like it's very well done, and I liked how complex the story sounded.

kimbacaffeinate said...

Ooo fantastic find..I love the setting, and I love all the characters.

Ginny Gallagher said...

This sounds like a really fun ghost story. I am definitely adding it to my wish list. I'm super curious to find out how they battled the black rot. Great sounding story. Thanks for sharing it!

Rachel said...

I love an unexpected find at the library. This sounds like a perfect read for this time of year. Great review, Lauren! :)

Cleo Bannister said...

This sounds excellent Lauren, I'm so glad you found such a great ghost story to read at this time of year.

http://cleopatralovesbooks.wordpress.com

kimbacaffeinate said...

I actually like the multiple pov's and when they are well done it notches up my enjoyment. This sounds quite good!