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Jack Knife [Mass Market Paperback]

Virginia Baker


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Book Description

Jan. 30 2007
Whitechapel, London, 1888.

For Inspector Jonas Robb, each night brings new terror. But this night is different. It's brought two strangers-David and Sara-who have arrived in London seemingly with no past. What they do have is incredible knowledge about the Whitechapel fiend known as Jack the Ripper. Because David and Sara do have a past. It just happens to be in the future.

Sent back in time, they're in pursuit of a 21st-century madman whose purpose is to change history. As the body count rises, Sara and David realize that their quarry and Robb's have become linked in a way that threatens not only Victorian London, but the very fabric of time.


Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Jove (MM); 1 edition (Jan. 30 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0515142522
  • ISBN-13: 978-0515142525
  • Product Dimensions: 17 x 10.2 x 2.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 181 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,459,906 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

This debut novel features an intriguing setup that, unfortunately, becomes bogged down in a too-busy narrative: American time travelers from the year 2007 find themselves in 1888 London on the trail of a dangerous interloper from their time, just as the escalation of the legendary Jack the Ripper murders has driven the city into a frenzy. Wary that they or their quarry, Jonathan Avery, might change history in a way that would eliminate their own time line, partners-of-convenience Sara Grant and David Elliot simultaneously search for their target while attempting to assist Scotland Yard Insp. Jonas Robb in thwarting the sadistic serial killer—who may be one and the same. What they don't realize is that Avery has taken a much larger role in events, and that it may be too late to salvage their future. A keen sense of history (such as the inclusion of lesser-known Ripper suspects Francis Tumblety and Michael Ostrog) bolsters this fast-paced pale, but Baker piles on bite-sized scenes and jarring shifts among characters to overwhelming, disorienting effect. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  25 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Implausibly plausible Feb. 22 2007
By Howard V. Tayler - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Jack Knife is a tale of Victorian England, Jack the Ripper, and three unfortunate time-travellers. If you can get past the time-travel itself, and the too-high-tech gadgets the folks from 2007 are carrying back into the past, you'll love the book. Virginia really did her homework on this one, and banged out a fantastic first novel.

Jack Knife has all the elements of a great horror tale, along with some of the upbeat optimism of science fiction. Add to that the convincing depiction of how nasty Whitechapel was a hundred and twenty years ago (and apparently STILL IS) and you're in for a great ride. I couldn't put it down.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb and Intriguing Jan. 30 2007
By Minou Janvier - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Baker's retelling of the Jack the Ripper tale is a tight, gripping read. A roller coaster from the beginning, switching back and forth between charactors, showing every action, every emotion. Her charactors are real people, with real emotion. Her language is exquisite, with little touches that really grab you. She manages to make the women stand out as real people, not just faceless victims of an insane killer.

It's hard to believe this is her first novel, considering the eloquent and beautiful language, the strict plot adherance, and the delightful characterizations. Sara and Robb are real people, and you can almost taste David's frustration with Sara. And then there's Jack. Oh yes. Few villins ever come that tasteful and delicious. Hannibal would like Jack. They'd get along just fine.

Jack Knife isn't the sort of book you read when you've got to get up in the morning. Because once you start, you can't stop. Great read.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Absorbing read! March 8 2007
By Mark Steele - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
It took me 10 or 15 pages to get into this book, but once I did I was sucked along right to the finish. My employer is probably happy I finished it, since my productivity has gone back up. I was impressed by the detailed representation of Victorian England, and felt the characterization was good--it didn't take long to start caring what happened to these people. The plot did an admirable job of keeping me guessing where things were going--the heroes and villains were both strong and kept throwing monkey wrenches into each others' plans. Can't wait for the sequel!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic First Book Jan. 26 2008
By Jo Leigh - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Sci-fi meets historic fiction. I found the dialogue engrossing and the depth of her accuracy was astounding.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Step Through Time to Stop Jack the Ripper. Sept. 30 2007
By tvtv3 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
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.

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