The Black Hand by Will Thomas

The Black Hand (Barker & Llewelyn, #5)

Barbara’s rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Series: Barker & Llewelyn 35
Publication Date: 7/1/2008
Period: Victorian London
Number of Pages: 289

I thoroughly enjoy this series. The stories are told from Llewelyn’s point of view – as if he is writing the stories from much later in his life. Llewelyn is a bit sarcastic and his quips are thoroughly entertaining – though they just pass right over Barker’s head. I came into the series late and read from my entry point through all of the later books and I’m now trying to read all of the earlier books. I love the main characters – Barker & Llewelyn – and the secondary characters are intriguing and fun to know.

Barker and Llewelyn are called to the docks on the Thames because a body was found floating in a barrel. It turns out that is a practice used by the Sicilian Mafia and the body belongs to a man named Serafini who is an assassin. The Mafia in London? At least one of the Mafia wants to expand their territory and they have decided to start with the London docks. Apparently, it will be up to Barker and Llewelyn to find the villain and put a stop to his plans.

It seems the villain is one step ahead and has begun causing harm to those Barker cares about. Those who stand in the villain’s way receive a note with a warning and a black hand – and that is soon followed by a violent death. The government wants Barker’s help to eliminate the threat, but they also have tied his hands with what he can and cannot do. Finding the villain and eliminating the threat will definitely stretch even Barker’s inimitable skills.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and cannot wait to get into some of the others I’ve missed. While the stories have a progression to them – as shown in the lives and relationships of Barker and Llewelyn – the mysteries and the meat of the stories can easily be read out of sequence. Sometimes it is even fun to be reading an earlier book and know what is going to happen several books down the line.

I can definitely recommend this book and this series. The writing is excellent with strong plots that are perfectly paced. The characters are unique, refreshing, interesting, and definitely not your run-of-the-mill supporting cast. Happy Reading!!!

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Avid reader/reviewer of historical romance and historical mysteries.

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