The Ripper's Time
by Mark R. Vogel

"Back and forth he slid the blade along the length of the stone, flipping it before each pass. Slow and methodical, his body swaying in unison to the cadence of the strokes."

The horrific crimes of the notorious Jack the Ripper have long been fodder for crime writers and probably always will be. Many such tales offer theories as to the serial killer's identity and his motives for the mysterious slayings, sometimes at the cost of simply telling a good story. Vogel, thankfully, focuses instead on one of the killer's victims, Catherine Eddowes, and more specifically, on a love affair with her would-be savior and man out of time, Henry Willows.

Willows' character, like Vogel himself, is something of an expert on the Ripper crimes in his life as a modern-day professor. He is particularly fascinated with Eddowes, who he feels a strong sympathy toward. She was not a prostitute, making her a singular exception to the rest of the Ripper's "canonical five" or original victims. When Willows gets the opportunity to travel back in time from the 21st century to the 19th century, then, it is only natural that he seeks to save her from the Ripper's blade, thus beginning a love affair over a hundred years in the making.

Vogel avoids getting too technical about how time travel is possible for our hero. He very quickly touches on the dangers of time paradoxes before getting on with the adventure at hand. Readers, as a result, won't be overwhelmed by technical jargon and time travel theories, allowing them to enjoy a good, old-fashioned story of love and lurking danger. Vogel also manages to recreate an accurate and thoroughly believable depiction of life in the late 1880s, lending an authenticity to the novel's proceedings. If there is one downside to the novel it lies in its somewhat hasty and convenient conclusion.

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