Jake Tracer
June 06, 2008 AT 04:00 AM EDT

A Vengeful Longing

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
R.N. Morris
publisher
Penguin
genre
Fiction, Mystery and Thriller

We gave it a B+

You might recognize the lead detective in A Vengeful Longing, set in sweltering St. Petersburg in the 1860s: Porfiry Petrovich, whose attention to criminal psychology brought down Raskolnikov in Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment. Despite the gimmicky premise, R. N. Morris successfully imagines another of the magistrate’s cases, involving a budding serial killer ”as unquantifiable as the X on one side of an algebraic equation.” Morris knows his math — his precise language voices the 19th century’s fixation on science and reminds us why Petrovich was a creation of genius the first time around. B+

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