In the sci-fi, historical murder mystery, it is June 2007 and a time traveler named Jonathan Avery violates the safety initiatives of the Project he works for and makes an unauthorized quantum leap killing a fellow worker in the process. Avery finds himself with amnesia in the summer of 1884 London. With the help of a local woman and some powerful scientific devices he carried with him, he begins making a new life for himself and soon rises in the social ranks to become a powerful figure. Meanwhile, back in June 2007 a woman scientist named Sara Grant and military Special Operation agent named David Elliot are given the task of traveling back to capture Avery or kill him. Avery's jump threatens the fabric of the space-time continuum. Sara and David are more the best team that could have been sent after Avery, but 19th Century London is a challenge for even them. Not only are all the social norms they are used to practically nonexistent, but Jack the Ripper is loose and at the height of his killing spree. David and Sara find an ally in a police inspector named Jonas Robb who has been given the task of solving one of the murders in his district. Through Jonas, Sara and David learn about a powerful man named Jay Osborne who has purchased most of the papers, is rousing up the common folk, and causing trouble with the elites. Even stranger is that there doesn't seem to be any historical evidence about Osborne. The company of three struggles to unravel Osborne's plans, capture Avery, and prevent any more Ripper murders from happening all before the future that Sara and David know of ceases to exist.
I have had an interest in the Jack Ripper murders since I was a kid. The stories used to fascinate me. So, I was drawn to JACK KNIFE after just reading the cover. Virginia has done a great job of tying together the Ripper murders and connecting them to the plot of her story. The details of the events, as well as the historical accuracy of the setting, are described quite well.
I have seen JACK KNIFE marketed in some stores in the sci-fi section. This is a mistake because JACK KNIFE includes very little science fiction. The time travel scenario is basically just a device that allows the story to take place and provide a bit more incentive for the characters to perform their required task. First and foremost, JACK KNIFE is a murder mystery that is full of suspense and well-developed characters. If that isn't enough to interest someone, there's also a bit of natural romance thrown in for good measure.
I highly enjoyed reading JACK KNIFE. I completed the book in about three days and am looking forward to other works that author Virginia Baker might write in the future.