Whitechapel: The Final Stand of Sherlock Holmes (Gentlemen's Edition)

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9781467943444: Whitechapel: The Final Stand of Sherlock Holmes (Gentlemen's Edition)

Edited to remove all graphic content.  However, it is not suitable for children.  The Whitechapel Ripper Must be Stopped A madman on the loose, driven by dark urges and uncontrollable violence. A hero, lost in the grip of addiction. The greatest and most desperate criminal investigation in history.Who will save us from Jack the Ripper? The most terrifying, explicit, and realistic Sherlock Holmes story ever told.  Whitechapel: The Final Stand of Sherlock Holmes provides readers a rare look at the lives of the victims, the monster known as Jack the Ripper, and the characters of Arthur Conan Doyle's beloved stories. All are presented in a fresh and entirely new way. A entirely new realistic way.Readers familiar with the Holmes stories will be shocked (and in some cases upset) with these new characterizations, but take heed as Gerard Lestrade transforms from doddering simpleton into an actual living and breathing detective assigned to the worst slum imaginable. They will be captivated by the reality of Holmes' addiction to cocaine and morphine. They will find themselves walking the cobblestone streets of Whitechapel, wondering if Bloody Jack's blade might be aimed at their throats next. 

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From the Author:

Q and A with Whitechapel Author Bernard Schaffer
 
Q: Setting out to write a story for a character as well-known and beloved as Sherlock Holmes must have been an indescribable challenge. How influential was Arthur Conan Doyle's original work on you as a writer--Sherlock Holmes or otherwise? 
A: My first introduction to the character was through film. When I was a child, Saturday's were dedicated to cartoons in the morning, then a Kung Fu movie, a Godzilla movie, and finally a monster film in the late afternoon. I distinctly remember watching Peter Cushing play Holmes in Hammer Films' Hound of the Baskervilles as a small boy. 
Later on, I bought a two-volume collection of ACD's entire Holmes canon. The first thing I read was The Final Problem because I wanted to see how Holmes ended up. So there you have it. My first exposure to Holmes was a horror movie and my first reading was about his violent death. It's really no wonder I wound up writing WHITECHAPEL, now that I think about it. 
Q: At any point were you concerned about potential backlash from the Sherlock faithful? 
A: There was an incident early on with one of the Sherlock fan websites where the editor was outraged at my abuse of Jack the Ripper, of all things. That kind of threw me. I mean, he was fine with me turning Holmes into a drug addicted hermit and Lestrade into an abusive whoremonger, but how dare I give Saint Jack a sexual aspect and be so damn gory. 
My book is extremely graphic. I make no apologies for it. But it is graphic only because I told the truth about what the Ripper did to his victims, and because the time and place these people lived in has not been fairly depicted. This was an unbelievably oppressive time for the poor in that part of the world, and they were considered fair game. 
If anything, my book is more honest than what they're used to, and they shouldn't be upset with me for telling the truth. 
Q: You told me in a previous interview that the way society had seemed to romanticize the real Jack the Ripper was disturbing for you. Were you at all worried that readers may not view him as the villain in this story?
A: Actually, by the end, I had great pity for the man I chose as The Ripper. In real life, the "Good" guys and the "Bad" guys are really not all that different on the inside. It's the choices we make that define us. 
Q: Was it difficult for you to get inside his head and create a cold-blooded killer? 
A: At first, very much so. I could not wrap my mind around why anyone would commit the atrocities that he had. It's very different than creating a bad guy from scratch. You can build him into anything you want. I was looking at a finished product (The Ripper Crimes) and trying to figure out how the hell he'd come to that. 
I contacted the FBI's Behavioral Sciences Unit and they were very helpful. I could not understand for the life of me why Jack was taking specific body parts and arranging his victims a certain way. I was looking for some sort of scientific answer. They told me that there wasn't one and that it only had to make sense to the killer. That was my job in the end. To find a good reason for Jack to behave the way he did, at least to him. 
Q: You did an unbelievable amount of homework in preparation for this book. What was the main draw for you to reach into the past for this case and put a new spin on it? 
A: It was out of necessity, really. My wife and I were separated and I was living in a small, run-down apartment. My personal life had collapsed and the two or three day stretches of not seeing my kids were tearing me apart inside. Whitechapel was a massive project that allowed me to devote my free time, almost exclusively.
I remember the day I started. I took out several large pieces of poster board and drew calendars on them for the months of August 1888 through December of that same year. I plotted out every event that seemed significant to the Ripper case so that I had a structured timeline to set my story in. Those were invaluable in keeping me on track. 
Q: There is a powerful scene in the book where a drunken Lestrade stumbles into an old church and has an epiphany as the veiled women wait for their sister. I don't know if you had intended that scene to be so moving, but it had an impact on me. What influenced your version of Lestrade's character? 
A: Lestrade was a traditional Doyle character, but always shown as a foil for Holmes. He's the stuffy old Englishman too caught up in his own pretension to see the clues right in front of his face. 
The Lestrade in my book is a cop who would actually work in a place like Whitechapel. There is simply no way a cop can exist in that environment and not begin to reflect it. The people you deal with wouldn't understand you and you'd be ineffective. 
Q: As a huge fan of Moz myself, I was pleasantly entertained by the numerous references to the music of Morrissey. Even the more subtle ones you'd tucked in there, such as Holmes's declaration that he would never marry. Why was Morrissey such a strong influence on you during the creation of the book? 
A: Nice catch. Morrissey was really the soundtrack to Whitechapel, and I would play his concert dvd endlessly while writing it. His persona of being committed to being alone and yet having all these frustrated feelings of longing gave me a very clear idea of Sherlock Holmes' mindset. And probably mine as well, at that point in time. 

About the Author:

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