One of the things that draws me to Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander novels—besides the story—is story length. To put it plainly, the longer, the better. For me. Provided it’s a good story. By Gaslight, by Steven Price, is a good story. But not for everyone.
I enjoyed it. Enjoyed the opaque Victorian atmosphere. The unusual quotes-free style. The slow sinuous weave of past and present and divergent story lines: a Pinkerton man on the hunt for a man that may not exist. A woman vanished.
William Pinkerton is determined to finish the job left incomplete with his father’s death. The man William Pinkerton is hunting is equally determined to remain anonymous—if he’s even alive. Most believe he’s not. He’s a ghost. William’s the only one convinced Edward Shade exists in corporeal form. Somewhere. And he’s going to find him. And make him pay.
William’s search takes him from America to England through the harrowing fog-filled slums of Victorian England and right into to its toxic sewers. Along the way he’s forced to examine more than evidence, compelled to look beyond his own pre-suppositions and consider the possibility that black is white, and white is black. But in a world where everything and everyone floats in a miasma of grey, he’s having a hard time squaring right from wrong, even within himself.
The elegance and tone of this story is as much the story as the story itself. I found myself hunched within my mind, creeping through narrow, shadow-cloaked cobble-stone alleys, and the even darker and more twisted warrens of human emotion and motivation.
The story is dark. Weighty. Long. Not for anyone seeking a quick romantic read. But if you enjoy complex characters and storylines, noir thrillers and Victorian-era novels, then chances are you’ll like Steven Price’s, By Gaslight.
There is a solitude which each and every one of us has always carried within. More inaccessible than the ice-cold mountains, more profound than the midnight sea: the solitude of self.
~Elizabeth Cady Stanton
Oddly enough, I could not find a website for Steven Price, and his Facebook author page has been inactive since 2016. I did, however, find this article, At Home with Writers Esi Edugyan and Steven Price, and learned that Steven Price is a Canadian poet and writer living in Beautiful British Columbia with his wife, Esi, who is also an author of international renown.