March 17

In Extremis – A Hellbound Novella – David McCaffrey

In Extremis 21888. Whitechapel. Think you know the story? You don’t know Jack…

James Maybrick had secured his legacy as the most infamous serial killer of all time…his diary would one day shock the world.

Thomas Quinn wants revenge…his actions will give birth to an organisation of unspeakable power.

Together, they unwittingly set in motion a plan that will one day lead to the serial killer, Obadiah Stark.

Stark became The Tally Man.

They were The Brethren.

Maybrick is known to history by another name…


A novella and companion volume to the fantastic Hellbound – a book which has heavily influenced many of the features I have run on this blog. Previously only available in digital format I am delighted to see a paperback version has now also been released, hopefully ensuring that the book will now reach an even wider audience.

In Extremis is chronologically a prequel to Hellbound, however, I would recommend reading Hellbound first. There are no actual spoilers in In Extremis but I enjoyed learning about the sinister Brethren through the sneaky reveals in Hellbound.

We find that The Brethren are very much in their infancy when we read In Extremis yet they are already using their influence to meddle in dangerous affairs. As you will be able to establish from the book description (above) the story is going to feature the most famous of serial killers – I am sure all crime readers know the significance of Whitechapel in the late 19th Century!

In the Afterword the author explains that the journal of James Maybrick came to light in the early 1990’s. David McCaffrey has taken the information contained within the journals and spun a wonderfully engaging story around Maybrick’s life, linking him to the Ripper murders and also suggesting that The Brethren may have played no small part in Jack’s appearance in London at that time.

I always feel that any book tackling Jack the Ripper needs to ensure it captures the right feel of the time. McCaffrey certainly achieved this, the language and the character dialogue had the right touches of the Victorian era and the locations (from narrow, dark Whitechapel streets to grand aristocratic houses) all rang true. It was easy to lose myself in the story.

I don’t read novellas or short stories as a rule but I made an exception for In Extremis, I very much enjoy David McCaffrey’s writing. I love the Ripper stories. And I find I still want to know more about The Brethren (David – that last one’s for you…more Brethren please).

Taking on a story about the most famous of villains is no small task – David McCaffrey has handled it superbly and presents another interesting angle on the legacy of Jack The Ripper.


In Extremis is available digitally and in paperback format and you can order a copy here:

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Posted March 17, 2016 by Gordon in category "From The Bookshelf