The Dead Will Rise

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Pub Date 07 Mar 2023 | Archive Date Not set

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Thief-taker Simon Westow is used to finding stolen goods, not stolen bodies . . . Can he hunt down those committing crimes against the dead in Leeds?

"This gritty and surprise-filled mystery will enthrall both newcomers and series fans" - Publishers Weekly Starred Review

Leeds. April, 1824. Wealthy engineer Joseph Clark employs thief-taker Simon Westow to find the men who stole the buried corpse of Catherine Jordan, his employee's daughter.

Simon is stunned and horrified to realize there's a gang of body snatchers in Leeds. He needs to discover who bought Catherine's body and where it is now. As he hunts for answers, he learns that a number of corpses have vanished from graveyards in the town. Can Simon and his assistant Jane bring the brutal, violent Resurrection men who are selling the dead to medical schools to justice and give some peace to the bereft families?

Thief-taker Simon Westow is used to finding stolen goods, not stolen bodies . . . Can he hunt down those committing crimes against the dead in Leeds?

"This gritty and surprise-filled mystery will...

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Featured Reviews

Chris Nickson always has the ability to transport me back through the mists of time to the Leeds of old, to the sounds and smells, the soot, smoke and grime and the old cobbled streets of this once industrial city, and it’s somewhere I’m more than happy to spend my time.

Simon Westow is a thief taker, he returns stolen items to their rightful owners for a fee. His trusty sidekick Jane helps him in his quests (she can be quite deadly when the occasion calls for it) and together they make a formidable pair.

It’s April 1824, and this time around, Simon is asked to return a body that’s been stolen from the local graveyard. The body is that of a ten year old girl. Simon is appalled, he’s heard of body snatchers in other towns but not in Leeds. The only problem being, a body is not looked on as property, so as much as he’d love to return the child’s body and catch the monsters responsible, his hands are tied. However, after further information he’s able to accept the job, and nothing would give him greater pleasure than to put the perpetrators behind bars.

The gang they seek are extremely dangerous men, after all, they’re making easy money from their body snatching, so they’ll let nothing and no one stand in their way, so naturally, much violence ensues in attempts to capture them and it takes every bit of Simon and Jane’s resolve to make this happen.
However, this case puts immense pressure on Simon and Jane’s professional relationship, and the trust that had taken years to build up suddenly becomes very fragile in what is seen as a betrayal.

Another great read from Leeds born author Chris Nickson. Chris certainly knows Old Leeds inside out, thanks to his meticulous research, which in turn brings authenticity to his books, with fictional cases blending alongside real historical cases. His characters are well fleshed out - none more so than protagonist Simon Westow his sidekick Jane, and wife Rosie, who personally becomes involved in the quest for the body snatchers. The plots are always interesting, and well thought out, and ensure that I furiously turn the pages, eager to know what happens next.

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A very engrossing entry in a series for historical mystery lovers. The characters, a family man ‘thief taker’ and his protege, a damaged young woman rising from poverty and neglect, are heroic yet flawed and the reader can’t help rooting for their success. There is plenty of danger-fueled action as these two take on the criminal element, succeeding, sometimes by the skin of their teeth, due to their street-savvy, and devotion and confidence in each others’ abilities. In this outing, body snatchers are at work, and the two must aid grieving loved ones by stopping the heinous plotters.

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Simon Westow stands on the Leeds Bridge gazing into the murky water. Leeds, itself, could be a main character here with its darkened streets, sometimes shifty residents, and the panoramic waft of decay and thickening soot in the air. Such are the remnants of progress.

It's April of 1824 and Simon is almost feeling defeated. He's a thief taker of stolen goods hired by people for the return of their items. Simon usually has a high success rate, but this time he's been called upon to return the impossible.

Joseph Clark of Clark Foundry has reached out to Simon for a specific reason. One of his faithful workers lost his daughter recently. The wife noticed that her daughter's grave had been disturbed. And here Chris Nickson introduces us to the dastardly deed of the resurrectionists. Grave robbers, if you will. The bodies were usually sold to medical schools for research and anatomy lessons. Simon is shocked that such things would transpire in Leeds. This is the last thing that Simon wishes to pursue, but the circumstances of a child involved leads Simon to take on this case.

The Dead Will Rise enters with a macabre beginning, but it also leans heavily on the relationships of these characters. Simon's partner is a young girl by the name of Jane. She came from an abusive situation and is beyond street-wise. Jane is fast with the knife and fast with her instant reactions to the goings on in Leeds. We'll observe changes that have been pressed upon Jane as she is reaching maturity. There is a softening here inside a mighty hard shell.

Rosie, Simon's wife, was his tried-and-true business partner before having their sons. I'm glad to see that Nickson is incorporating her more and more into his storylines now that the boys are older. She's a wise one, most certainly, and more than capable to keep up with Simon.

Chris Nickson, as always, delves into impeccable research in his novels. But this time, Nickson weighs the age old question of the value of life. Desperate times lead individuals to desperate acts. But to disturb the resting place of a loved one is beyond the imagination and especially for profit. Nickson will have us on edge as we follow the trail of Simon, Jane, and Rosie. Believe me, he never disappoints.

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley for an honest review. My thanks to Severn House and to the talented Chris Nickson for the opportunity.

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The Dead Will Rise by Chris Nickson
My Review📖🖋
Leeds. April 1824. Wealthy engineer Joseph Clark, head of Clark Foundry, employs thief-taker Simon Westow for an unusual task. He requires Westow to find the men who stole the buried corpse of Catherine Jordan, a trusted and loyal employee's daughter who has recently passed away.
Simon is stunned and horrified to realize there's a gang of body snatchers in Leeds. He, like many others, had read of reports of it happening elsewhere but not here in Leeds. Westow has a short time to discover who bought Catherine's body and where it is now. As he hunts for answers, he learns that several corpses have disappeared from graveyards in the town. Likely they are sold to medical schools, but there is no proof.
Simon and his assistant Jane hope to bring the brutal, violent Resurrection men to justice before more bodies disappear. As Simon and Jane are drawn into a murky underworld where they will find their relationship stretched to the limit.
The Dead Will Rise by Chris Nickson is the fifth book in the Simon Westow mysteries. As with all the books in the series, it can be read as a stand-alone novel. But with the characters and their relationships built from the first in the series, it might be worth starting from the very outset.
There is always the deep-seated sense of the macabre about anything to do with body-snatching. The notorious William Burke and William Hare are the pair that spring immediately to mind. Lack of fresh corpses meant they committed sixteen killings during a ten-month reign in 1828 in Edinburgh, Scotland.
There is the argument that it furthered medical science, but there are ways and means. The criminal element would always find a way to be involved, so it proved with those providing cadavers. Once chopped up and disposed of, evidence was unsurprisingly hard to find.
If you have followed the author, you will know that the attention to detail and descriptive writing are top-notch. His research is impeccable, and he has the sights, sound and atmosphere of old Leeds nailed down to a tee. There is an eeriness and menace with much that is gothic about the backdrop. Sometimes appearing very dark, with a 'what's that in the shadows' vibe.
An excellently constructed and clever plot, it wanted me to immediately delve into the Burke and Hare story again. Although it is dissimilar to a large degree, I hasten to add. The author has that innate ability to grab your attention and not let go.
This is a tremendously good read from start to finish, and I would say probably the most chilling and atmospheric of the series. Also, the female leads seem to have a much stronger presence, as Westow's wife Rose and the maturing Jane play a more significant role in the proceedings.
The vivid descriptions of people and places are clear and precise, bringing them to life, and you can feel the suspense and tension flow through the narrative. Intelligent, suspenseful and totally enthralling, right down to the climactic finale.
In my defence, I had subconsciously drawn a parallel with Burke and Hare before reading the author's excellent Afterword notes. His clinical research obviously far outreaches mine, but it did whet my appetite to delve a bit deeper into the subject.
The Dead Will Rise by Chris Nickson was a genuine delight to read, and thus recommend it highly. I would also suggest getting hold of the rest of this series if the opportunity arises, starting with The Hanging Psalm.
Many thanks, NetGalley and Severn House, for the advanced copy of the book.

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Simon Westow is a thief-taker. In the days before police forces were created, thief-takers were the community police, they would find stolen property and return it for a fee. This case is very ugly. A child's body has been stolen from its grave and the burial dress sold to a rag and bone dealer. Simon's assistant, Jane, uncovers the dress and gets a description of the person who sold it to her. Jane is a ghost, drifting along the streets of Leeds, whispering to the poor and downtrodden to uncover evil doings. Since she escaped this life, she always pays it forward, dropping coins along her way. Meanwhile, Simon and Jane are also hired to find a man who stole 50 pounds from a rich woman. She is incensed and wants her money back and revenge. Simon soon discovers she is not all she claims to be and withdraws from the case. However, this case and the case of the missing body will be entwined forever. Bodies begin to drop and Jane nearly dies, which scares her very much. Simon, his wife, Rosie, and Jane must follow down some very dark paths to uncover the ring of resurrection men, who dug up corpses to sell to universities for anatomy classes. If you appreciate well written and extremely well research historical novels, I cannot recommend Nickson's books enough.

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Chris Nickson is one of my favorite writers of historical mysteries. He's solid and reliable, and I mean those words as a very sincere compliment. The world of historical mysteries if full of books that begin with a clever premise, but can't follow through or that read like a child's story "and then... and then... and then." The balance between characters and mystery vary, and all to often the solution to the mystery becomes clear well before the book's end.

I know I won't get any of those weaknesses when I start a new Nickson book. He has a number of mystery series. The one I know best is the DI Tom Harper series, set just before the turn of the 20th Century in Leeds, and featuring a main character who has managed to work his way into the hierarchy of the police department despite his humble origins (as they say). There are so any details I would love to share about that series, but the characters have developed so richly over time that I worry I'd let slip something that would deprive readers of the pleasure of encountering events "as they happen."

The Simon Westow series is also set in Leeds, in the 1820s. The lead character is a thief taker. His two partners are his wife Rosie—she's got a mean hand with a knife, but you'd never know it just looking at her—and Jane, a former street child with rigid ideas about justice and rigid rules for her own life as compensation for the years when her life was a rule-less struggle to survive.

In this volume, resurrection men (who dug up recent burials and sold the bodies on to medical schools) have just arrived in Leeds. A wealthy factory-owner who still works alongside his employees has asked Simon and company to investigate the disappearance of the body of Gwendolyn Jordan, the ten-year-old daughter of one of his employees. There's a particular horror around this event because it's not just the dead being disturbed, but the child of a family still mourning her unexpected death.

I encourage you to spend some time with Simon, Rosie, and Jane—and with Tom Harper and his coworkers and family. You'll find satisfying mysteries and casts that grows increasingly complex as the series continue. I can't personally vouch for his other series, but I would most definitely pick one up with confidence, knowing I'm in for an engaging ride with Chris Nickson in the lead.

I received a free electronic review copy of this title from the publisher via NetGalley; the opinions are my own.

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Chris Nickson's historical mysteries are always well researched and gripping. They're a good way to travel back in time to Leeds in another age.
This is one is the best in this series and I read it in two sitting as it's page turner.
Solid mystery that kept me guessing, vivid historical background, an excellent groups of characters.
Highly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher for this arc, all opinions are mine

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Gripping Victorian Noir!

1824. Leeds has a new low in crime!
Nickson has blown me away with this episode of thief-taker Simon Westrow. The abused Jane, his very damaged partner who is making slow steps and is not cutting herself anymore, although her trusty honed blade never leaves her side is of course present, and Rosie, Simon’s wife, mother of his children and partner until motherhood shifted her attention to their boys. This time however she’s more than ever up for the chase.
Bodysnatchers have struck in Leeds. The population is aghast. The body of a ten year old child has been stolen. The parents are bereft. The population is angry. Rosie is incandescent with rage. This has become personal for her.
The owner of a Foundry, Joseph Clark, a close friend and employer of the father, has asked Simon to find the degenerate grave robbers. For a finders fee of course
At the same time a Mrs Amanda Parker has asked Simon and Jane to attend her. She wants them to find a man who stole 50 pounds from her. Jane is suspicious of the widow, doesn’t like her. Simon says they’ll try for 3 days. If they can’t find the man they’ll stop. Simon and Jane both sense something a little off key. But what?
The search for the resurrectionists lead them all over Leeds. They find them, but then two escape custody, the third dies. Mob emotions have come into play.
Now the chase is on—again! Jane confronts the Irishman. It doesn’t go well. She is shaken and angry. She’s felt fear for the first time in a long time. That doesn’t sit well with our Jane. To conquer that feeling she becomes more determined than ever to settle things with the Irishman. Jane becomes a silent wraith, even more than before, as she and Simon track their quarry.
Extraordinary times, and extraordinary measures taken by all three.
I love Nickson’s knowledge of old Leeds, of its alleyways and streets, all mapped out in Jane’s head.
I admire his craft as a storyteller, weaving history and fiction.
Tense, darkly imagined reading, makes this a favorite.

A Severn House ARC via NetGalley.
Many thanks to the author and publisher.

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Many thanks to NetGalley and Severn House for this Advanced Reader Copy and the opportunity to review “The Dead Will Rise.” All opinions and comments are my own.

It’s quiet at the moment. Simon Westow, thief-taker and his assistant Jane are taking a short break from their work. Life is good for now. Until it isn’t, of course. And soon a sad and sordid tale will come a’calling for Simon, Jane and even Rosie, Simon’s wife, in “The Dead will Rise,” the fifth in the series set in the smoky and soot-filled city of Leeds.

The story involves body-snatching, which is not considered much of a crime (not yet, anyway, that will come in time), as terrible as it is for the families. What Simon finds is that the body of a child has been taken, and a distraught father wants him to find the perpetrators. It’s a difficult case, without clues and without anything to go on. So, when another job comes to their attention, a “missing person,” it’s a chance to bring in some extra money in the meantime, he believes. How these cases intersect is testimony to the author’s ability to weave a complex and absorbing tale, dark and depressing for all that, but one that will draw you in on every page.

The city is once again a character, shadowy, noisy, choking with soot, growing with houses and thus more people. It’s getting harder to find someone. And both Simon and Jane do a lot of looking.

Author Chris Nickson shows the two sides of his main characters, the family side, the domestic side, and even for Jane her simple side, how her reading is improving. The hunt is interrupted by these moments. The author breaks up the tension in this way, and it works.There is resolution, of course, and a reckoning. “The Dead Will Rise” is another sterling effort by Chris Nickson, who knows how to bring a story to life, even an unpleasant one.

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Every now and then a book comes along which I enjoy so much I simply cannot put it down. This is one of those! It is book 5 of the series featuring Simon Weston and read well as a stand-alone. It is the early 19th century in Leeds and Simon is a thief-taker. He acts for clients who have had something stolen and on finding and returning the missing items he gets paid. He is ably assisted by wife Rosie and young colleague Jane. The three main characters are well fleshed out, as is the gruesome detail of the actions of the resurrection men known as body snatchers.

Briefly, Simon is approached by Joseph Clark to find the body of the 10 year old daughter of one of his employees, whose body has been dug up and removed from her grave. There are body snatchers at work. Simon is facing the hardest task of his life to find the Resurrectionists whilst keeping the three of them safe, particularly Jane who is rather adept at getting herself into dangerous situations!

Historical fiction at its finest, as a result of the authors research and knowledge of Leeds from the period in question, which gives the reader a vivid insight into life and social living conditions. Nothing is left to the imagination. A very enjoyable read and I am looking forward to reading more adventures from the intrepid trio!

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1824 Leeds. Thief-taker Simon Westow and Jane Truscott are employed by Joseph Clark to find the body snatchers who had unearthed 10 year old Gwendolyn Jordan's body. Meanwhile rich widow Mrs Amanda Parker wants them to find a Tom Rawlings, for not paying back a loan of £50. But the investigations are not as straightforward as first thought.
An entertaining and well-written historical mystery with its cast of varied and likeable characters. Another good addition to this enjoyable and well-plotted series.
An ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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