The Devil in the Dock Review

The Devil in the Dock Review | Richard James

After thoroughly enjoying The Head in the Ice, I was looking forward to seeing where the adventure would take George Bowman next. Head back in time for a new mystery set in the Victorian era with my review of The Devil in the Dock.

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Publisher: Sharpe Books | Date: 2020 | Genre: Historical/Mystery

Plot: ‘Are there devils here?’

Considered a loose cannon, Detective Inspector George Bowman of Scotland Yard is despatched to London’s docks where he can do no harm.

When an explosion rips through the wharves, however, he’s soon pitched into a world of intrigue and extortion.

With the whole of Victorian London in the grip of the mysterious Kaiser, Bowman must find the strength to escape the ghosts that haunt him. Just who is the Kaiser, and what do they have to do with his wife’s death?


I received The Devil in the Dock from the author in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Devil in the Dock book review

The Devil in the Dock Review

After enjoying the charm of The Head in the Ice, I was delighted to continue the adventure with The Devil in the Dock.

The second book in the Bowman of the Yard series, this novel has as much mystery, intrigue and suspense as the first. The scene is set in the same compelling way, only this time, it’s our first victim fleeing for his life, hunted by a vicious dog.

But Bowman isn’t sent to investigate the murder. His friends and colleagues are worried about him – and his grip on sanity. It’s a concern he can’t shrug off as phantoms haunt him through London. He wants to move on; his past refuses to let him go. Desperate to show he is still the man for the job, Bowman tries to prove himself while working security at the docks where mysterious injuries and “accidents” are rife, and no one’s willing to talk.

As before, I really like George Bowman as a protagonist. He has a heart of gold and a mind that’s his own worst enemy. He knows his grip on sanity is a fragile thing, but he’s determined not to appear weak in front of either friends or foes. Bowman has charming sensibilities and a way of flustering himself when dealing with women. But when he’s got a case to solve, we see his iron and determination, and what makes him a good detective.

Graves remains my favourite out of the secondary characters. You see – more so this time– how much he cares for those he has sworn to protect, becoming emotionally involved in the case and determined to find answers. The focus remains on Bowman and Graves: others are present but you don’t connect to them.

“And what of you, Inspector Bowman?” She used his title for the first time, he noticed, as if she was singularly unimpressed. “Will you change the world?”

The Devil in the Dock by Richard James

The case is just as compelling. Men disappearing: men being branded: men hunted through the streets of London. An explosion that is far too suspicious to be the accident it’s claimed as. And a mysterious Kaiser – someone running the London criminal world who has, so far, remained undetected by the police. But when Bowman starts to make connections, it becomes a much bigger case, even going back as far as the events that killed his wife.

The mystery is an engaging and enjoyable one. You see the different strands come together as the characters work things out, but the big picture is harder to suss out. There is an effective build of tension as our heroes realise they have been in the presence of their enemy – and still don’t know who it is.

The gentle pace of these books hints towards a satisfying ending, and it didn’t let me down. Justice is served and the criminal apprehended. But, more importantly, the strong character development also occurring.

I’m enjoying this series. It’s charming, it’s engaging and I’m loving that I’m not guessing it. You get swept up with these characters and their need to find justice even when it seems impossible. It’s an escape back to the past, and a delightful one at that.

Are you a historical mystery fan? Have you read these books?

Also in the series:


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49 thoughts on “The Devil in the Dock Review | Richard James

  1. I enjoyed your review of the first book in the series and it’s good to hear that the follow up didn’t disappoint. This isn’t really my genre but I do love a series where there’s some good and believable character development – I’m intrigued! x


    • Aww thanks lovely.It’s a little different for me but does combine two genres I really enjoy, and I’m pleased to say it’s working. They’re really charming books.


    • Very thorough review! I liked how you told about the book, which makes it a very interesting book to read. I’m not much of a fan reading but I read mystery books too from time to time. Thanks for sharing this! ☺️?


  2. Amazing review as always, hun! This book is a little too creepy for my tastes but your review was really eloquent! I wish I knew all these big words! Haha!

    Daisy xoxo


  3. Both of this series covers are so eerie! Great review and glad you enjoyed this one as well as the first 🙂 Definitely sounds like an interesting book and I like how creepy it sounds! Perfect for Halloween!


  4. I’m super picky with my mystery books but from your review I think I would like this series! I always check to see how are the reviews for the second/third book before going in ? it feels safer knowing that the chances I will enjoy the series are greater


    • There’s a real charm to the series for sure! That’s a really good idea actually. I’m going to be reading the third book very shortly so we shall see if it continues as strongly.


  5. It does sound intriguing! I liked your description of the protagonist, he seems like a layered character. And the plot is interesting. I think I would read it if I came across it by the bookstore. Well done, Lindsey!


  6. This sounds so good! I love a little suspense and mystery and enjoyed your review of the first book as well. The Devil in the Dock sounds just as good and riveting! I really like how it isn’t predictable and easy to guess what’s going to happen, I’m always a little bummed when that happens


  7. I love Victorian fiction and mysteries are my favorite genre to read, so this book sounds amazing! I appreciate a good mystery, especially when it is one that is not too predictable and achieves that ending when all the loose ends click into place.
    Thanks so much for sharing!


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