The Harvest Man by Alex Grecian

The Harvest Man

Alex Grecian

It's hard enough when Scotland Yard's Murder Squad has to catch one killer at large. Now, they have to catch two.  

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Scotland Yard’s Murder Squad—and Jack the Ripper—return, in the extraordinary new historical thriller from the author of the acclaimed national bestseller The Yard.
In The Devil’s Workshop, London discovered that Jack the Ripper was back, sending the city—and Scotland Yard’s Murder Squad—into chaos. But now it is even worse. Not only is the Ripper still at large, but so is another killer just as bad.

For Inspector Walter Day, it has been a difficult time. His wife has given birth to twins, his hostile in-laws have come to stay, and a leg injury has kept him at his desk. But when the Harvest Man begins killing, carving people’s faces off their skulls, the Yard knows they need Day in the field.

Not so Sergeant Nevil Hammersmith. Rash actions have cost him his job, but that doesn’t stop his obsessive hunt for the Ripper. When the mutilated bodies of prostitutes start turning up again, Hammersmith enlists the help of a criminal network to stop Saucy Jack, his methods carrying him further and further from the ideals of the Yard, so far in fact that he may never be able to find his way back.

Of course, the Ripper’s been playing a game with him—with Walter Day, as well. He is pushing both of them to their limits, and what happens when they get there . . . no one can say.

Advance Galley Reviews

I really enjoyed this novel. The story was riveting and kept me hanging on until the very end with all the twists and various perspectives. It also felt realistic while I was reading with how Scotland Yard Inspectors/policemen and private investigators behaved and worked in that era.

I loved this book! The characters were interesting and quirky. I thought the Harvest Man character was interesting. I looked up what a plague mask looks like and after seeing that, I’d be scared to death of this guy if I saw him! I did like that there were tie-ins to Jack the Ripper. I think my favorite part of the book was the wacky doctor that helped out at crime scenes and the early CSI kit ideas he had. It was fun to imagine that’s how CSI precautions and techniques may have started. I did have a little trouble in the beginning figuring out who’s who with the characters. I received a free advanced copy of this book from Penguin’s First to Read program, so I didn’t start with the first book in the series. I think I would have had a better understanding from the start of the characters if I had. That didn’t at all hamper my enjoyment with this book. It was a fantastic read and now I want to go back and read the earlier books.

The Murder Squad is back with another exciting tale. The Ripper is back but there is someone out there worse than him. Will the murder squad have what it takes to catch this ruthless killer. Though these books can books could be read as stand alones I think it's best to start with first one and work your way to Harvest Man. I really wish I would have because I believe the lives of the detectives change from book to book and grow and to get the best experience it would be best that way. This is a great murder mystery for those who love historical era's. I am loving them and will be going back to the beginning and catching up on what I missed!

I love reading these type of novels. police work in times other than our own. it's compelling reading and although it can be dark and gory, for lack of a better work, they are very exciting reading. this is the fourth installment in a series. One of my favorite reading habits are reading books following characters in a series and I am obessive that I read them in the proper order. Call me crazy. Thank you very much for the advance copy and the opportunity to read this book.

Here goes the embarrassing across the I internet, but an apology & explanation is owed to you (Penguin & all contributing publishers): I don't know where else to write this, but I cannot let the books that were granted to me last month/the month before to go without my deepest thanks & apologies left unsaid for each book I was granted access to. There are a few so I'll be copy/pasting this same message on all books I wasn't able to get to on last two rounds. .@Penguinbooks .@FirstToRead Thank you so very much for the books you've granted me early access to. I cannot apologize enough and I've been so sad, broken & worried that I'd never see another email with an of option for access again. I had used so many points for all those books which I never got to read. Thank you so much for giving me another chance. It wasn't for a lack of want to read those and I'm beyond broken hearted that I was unable to read "Eeny Meeny", OMG :( "The Sound of Glass", "Last Man Off", "The Last Bookaneer" :( "Last Man Off", "The Harvest Man", "The Water Knife", and "Sweet Forgiveness". I'm so sad over missing all of them before they expired and there are a few which I'm extra incredibly upset about. I was in the ER just an hour or two after I started reading "The Sound Of Glass" and I even posted that on instagram, broken hearted about some huge standouts above. My ex and was in ICU for his heart, when he got out I was in for pneumonia, my girls were sick, my debit card was stolen, this week my daughter passed out at her first job (EMT's called out), got her bike stolen on the same day and yesterday she was at work when an armed robbery occurred. I do have proof of all that's happened and I'm so deeply sorry. I'm so grateful for what you do and I respect this process of terms completely. The authors as well. I let you all down due to circumstances, however I see in the email today that you gave me another chance. I was afraid I wouldn't have points left and I used all my points last rounds for books I just couldn't get to. *exhaled sadness and apologies* Those books I missed all look AMAZING and every single book I've read from here has been the best of 2015 and some the best of all time for me. I really hope someday I can read what I was granted access to, but was unable to get to reading. Thank you for this new chance. ~*Thank You SO Much*~ I'm so embarrassed to be posting this public, but you deserve to know that I wasn't just ignoring. It was three months of hell which stole my chance to read those. Thank you for your gifts! One incredibly gratetul reader. I'm posting this on all the books I had to miss. I know it's going to post publicly to Twitter and I'm 'so' embarrassed, but you, all publishers and the authors deserve nothing less, in my humble opinion. GOD, this is embarrassing :'( and I want to read those awesome books. You've got the best I've read! it goes......

I had read the first book by Alex Grecian and enjoyed it. This book was pretty good but I think I should have read the previous one first. Looking forward to more by this author

(Thank you to Putnam and First to Read for the ARC!) The Murder Squad series really has an interesting premise: it's the beginning of forensic detective work and an organized fight against the criminal underworld set against the backdrop of Victorian England. As much as I want to enjoy this series, with the last two installments, I find myself liking it less and less. It's not that I don't like the characters or enjoy the period setting, it's just that the books are starting to lack a sense of tension. They're enjoyable enough paperback reads--quick, light mysteries, albeit with gore to spare--but there's not much suspense. You never really have the feeling that the bad guy won't meet his fair end. That was okay when there was at least some mystery still to be solved, but in The Harvest Man, there isn't even a mystery underfoot--only the Murder Squad trying to catch killers who were previously identified in earlier books. With no mystery to be solved, a snoozer of a pursuit, and a convenient cliffhanger ending, this book felt more like the bridge between two books than a standalone entry. I'm kind of bummed, because I initially thought the series had a lot of promise, but I wasn't a huge fan of The Devil's Workshop and I really hoped The Harvest Man would turn the series around. I suppose I'll still pick up the fifth book in the series whenever it's published, just so I can find out what happens next, but I'm not exactly waiting with bated breath.

Multiple serial killers means multiple murders to solve for Scotland Yard and DI Day. Jack the Ripper is still out there taunting him but there are some new kids on the block to keep things jumping. Much is revealed about Day's home life with new twin babies and interfering in-laws who hire a "staff" for the household. His recent injury plagues him and the new DI who is taking over the bulk of the investigations is less than his equal. Ms.Grecian's prose brings things alive for me. I am right there in that time period, on the street, watching as events unfold. A thoroughly enjoyable read for me. My thanks to the author and Penguin's First to Read program for a complimentary copy.

I wanted to like this, really I did. I like gory suspense and dark mysteries. I hung in there halfway, but it was so. Mindnumbingly. Boring. I quit before the end because I couldn't care enough to keep the characters straight. And that's saying something. I finish nearly every book I start.

This was a great story about Jack the Ripper and another serial killer called The Harvest Man. This is the third book in a series with the Murder Squad that started in the Yard. We learn more about Walter Day and his family and sergeant Nevil Hammersmith. Both are still hurting from their last case. Nevil is no longer a policeman due to previous injuries. Walter is going after The Harvest Man and Nevil is tracing Jack the Ripper. You must read these books in order or you will get lost. The characters are great and there are many twists to the story. I look forward to the next episode. I received an ebook copy of this from Firsttoread for a fair and honest opinion.

Grim, disturbing, thrilling story of the hunt for a serial killer who is called the Harvest Man. I won't spoil it by telling you why, but it's grim. Did I say disturbing? Couple the man hunt for The Harvest Man with an former policeman obsessed with one of the most famous serial killers in history, and you have a story that keeps you on the edge of your seat. And yes, that particular chap does make an appearance. I haven't read any previous books by this author, but plan to right away. Recommended.

I have read the three previous books in Alex Grecian's Scotland Yard Murder Squad series, so I was familiar with the story and characters when I began "The Harvest Man." Unfortunately, I thought this book did a good job at emphasizing the short-comings that had been present in the previous works, and down-playing the aspects I'd actually enjoyed. Each book in the series has had plot problems, and this story was no exception. The whole hunt for the Harvest Man seems like an afterthought, which Day and Hammersmith barely have anything to do with. The worst part is that a huge deal is made out of getting a sketch of the man from the two young boys who witnessed their parents' murder, but this is totally unnecessary. Anyone who read the previous book in the series ("The Devil's Workshop") would know that the Harvest Man had recently escaped from prison. Not only that, but he had been in and out of various institutions since he was a child. Are you telling me there was no one at the prison who could provide a description of this man? No one who could at least point out that he had the stature of a child and a disfigured ear? It is a huge plot hole and was really distracting when I was reading the book. Grecian has also made Walter Day a fairly unlikable character in this book. In previous novels, Day and Hammersmith worked as foils for one another. Day was personable, thoughtful, and deliberate in his investigations. Hammersmith, in contrast, was brash, abrupt, and liable to throw himself into any situation without thought. In this new book Day is sullen, self-pitying, and borderline alcoholic. I had trouble summoning much pity for him, however, especially when contrasted with Hammersmith. Day has a limp now, but that is certainly something that can be dealt with. He also has a beautiful wife whom he loves and two healthy, young daughters. In contrast, Hammersmith has no family, lost his job (the only job he's ever wanted), and had his chest stabbed by one serial killer and sewn up by another serial killer. Does he sit around moping like Day? No, and the contrast makes Day's actions all the less palatable. I also found the inclusion of Jack the Ripper to be rather annoying. Grecian has bestowed near supernatural powers on the serial killer, and it detracts from the overall story. Jack seems to have the ability to convince anyone (except Walter Day) to do his bidding, regardless of how it puts them in danger. He seems to be everywhere at once, orchestrating it all from behind the scenes. And somehow we're supposed to believe he transported the giant-like Henry Mayhew from the middle of Trafalgar Square to a canal boat without any help from Henry at all. Are we supposed to believe he carried him there? Once again, another distracting plot hole that really detracted from my enjoyment of the novel. To be honest, I found the ending extremely frustrating and unsatisfying. Leaving such a big cliffhanger seems like cheating the reader. And knowing that Day has been gone for a whole year makes me not want to read the next novel. I also thought it was ridiculous that his boss would recognize his voice over the telephone after a year of not speaking. Overall, I would say I was pretty disappointed in this book and I don't know that I'll be picking up the next in the series. It's come a long way from being a Scotland Yard Murder Squad book, and instead seems to be about lionizing a serial killer.

The Harvest Man is the fourth book in the Scotland Yard series by Alex Grecian. Jack the Ripper is still at large and has either begun killing men or there is a second killer on the loose. In addition, there is the harvest man, a serial killer that targets married couples and murders them in their homes. If the couple has children, the killer will also murder them; or at least until the latest murder. The two young boys managed to escape the killer and Inspector Walter Day hopes that they will be able to identify the murderer. Inspector Walter Day must also deal with the birth of twin daughters, his hostile in-laws visiting, and the leg injury that has limited his career at the Yard. His wife, Claire, is hoping to maintain the peace between her parents and her husband, as well as care for her daughters. Claire has also been writing nursery rhymes and is hoping to find a way to help improve the family’s income. While this is the fourth book in the series, this is the first book of the series that I have read. While I did enjoy this book, I would recommend that readers do not start with this book simply because a lot of the backstory is not explained. I am sure that I would have enjoyed the book more had I understood the reason the characters acted as they did. Now that I have read the current installment in the series, I will need to go back to the previous books and see the characters’ relationships grew and how their personal development made this book so enjoyable.

When I first started reading this book, I had a hard time following it, and it didn't seem to me to want to stay in the right century, but I kept reading and it got much better and more interesting. The last third of the book was exciting and I can't wait to read the next one. I hope that it will contain the same characters and that there will be a resolution to the remaining mystery. Perhaps if I had read the previous books, I wouldn't have had such a hard time engaging with the beginning of this book. I would highly recommend this book and would say that you need to just continue with it to the end. It is well worth the time.

I didn't realize that this book was number four in a series. Still that didn't dampen the book for me. I enjoy reading books written in this style and tone, so it was refreshing and went by too quick. It was a good book to read on a rainy day. I don't know if Mr. Grecian has placed Jack in all of the book in this series or if it follows Mr. Day, but I am more than ready to find out.

THE HARVEST MAN by Alex Grecian This is the fourth book in the Murder Squad series. While this book can be read as a standalone novel, it is best if you have read the others in the series first. These books are fascinating as they show us the beginnings of law enforcement agencies and forensic science. For those who liked Caleb Carr's ALIENIST books or Lyndsay Faye's TIMOTHY WILDE series, this book combines major elements from both. The psychology of both killer and cop are analyzed which cuts down on the action but helps to move character development along. The plot has a copycat of Ripper, another serial killer who de-faces his victims literally and the police who appear as bumbling buffoons when compared with the CSI-esque ability available to law enforcement today. I enjoyed this book as much as the first three and am already anxiously awaiting the fifth book. This book has a cliffhanger ending, so be prepared to be bereft of a tidy ending.

This was a show read. The book just did not hold my interest. I heard this book was great and I could not follow the story.

This is the first of Alex Grecian's books I've attempted to read. From some of the research I've done for this review I've discovered he is a national bestselling author of the "Scotland Yard Murder Squad" so I was excited to start. I've read so many glowing reviews on this and other books of his. Well, I've been trying to read this book for about 3 weeks now and I'm only to Chapter 14. Usually a book gets better after Chapter 5 so I hung in there and kept saying it's got to get better. Unfortunately, not. There is no suspense when he has the killer in the house waiting for the residents to return. Or when the residents are asleep and he comes out from his hiding spot to kill there is no build up or wonder of what might happen to the children in the other room. During one instance I assumed that the children escaped pages before you find out that they had escaped and were hiding. I'm not sure if I will finish this selection as I now don't care how it ends. Evidently Alex's style of writing just doesn't do it for me. I received access to The Harvest Man for free through the First to Read program.

I really liked this one - stuck with it, despite hardship in reading (limited to reading it on my PC - couldn't get adobe to work on my android). I'm looking forward to finding the other books in the series. It's an interesting story, with just enough description and character development (as much as I require some background, I'm not fond of reading about every dot on the wallpaper, or every character's hiccup). While it was good stand-alone (the author did a good job of place/setting), I feel it might have been even better had I read the previous books in the series.

For those unfamiliar with this series, we are transported back in time to 1890, London. Scotland Yard’s Murder Squad has their hands full; Jack the Ripper may have disappeared into thin air, but the dawn of the random serial killer has now arrived. There are three investigative subplots occurring in The Harvest Man: the search for the Harvest Man, an unofficial search for Jack the Ripper, and a mystery of several Ripper-like murders which have turned up. The latter two plots flow in and out nicely around the hunt for the Harvest Man. The Murder Squad series features a terrific cast of regular characters. Detective Inspector Walter Day is our main character, the center of this large cast. While the mysteries are the great piece of the books, the personal lives of the characters play just as an important role. Mr. Grecian had a terrific buildup going throughout the novel. The ending was fantastic – but it just leaves you wanting more. When does the next book come out?

Alex Grecian’s Murder Squad books give you a different view into the early days of Scotland Yard. The fourth installment of the Scotland Yard Murder Squad hits the ground running. So much so, it felt as if no time had passed between books. Though there is enough information that this book could stand alone, the characters did not come across as fully fleshed and felt as if one could not completely connect and engage with each one. The speed that Grecian tells this story makes you feel you are a rock skipping across the surface of water at break neck speed. Some authors spend too much time delving into their characters bogging down the flow. If too much time was spent on the development of the characters in The Harvest Man, it could have slowed the speed of the story, perhaps saving me some fingernails! However, the final words of this installment promise the lose of more nails,

This is book 4 of a series, but reads just fine without the previous books. Inspector Walter Day's not having a good time--he has newborn twins, is living with in-laws who hate him, and still hasn't recovered from an injury that trapped him in desk duty. That hasn't stopped the Harvest Man, a killer named for a spider for the way he stalks his victims. A killer who cuts off people's faces, for some frightening reason. Day is too good a detective to be left behind, however. Former Sergeant Nevil Hammersmith isn't welcome at all. Even though his mistakes got him fired, he's still determined to hunt down Jack the Ripper. Discovering the bodies of three prostitutes with Jack's signature on them seems like a fresh clue, but the further he investigates, the more it's clear that a dangerous and complicated game is being played. With two killers stalking the city, both men will have to be sharp if they want to make the city safe. A dark story, and not for the squeamish, as there's a fair degree of bloody death happening. The two plot lines, two killers, and two detectives interweave a fair bit, but each is resolved separately. And the detecting is pretty clever, with a reasonable amount of luck thrown in. There's a lot of personal issues heightening the tension, and some of the character's lives are kind of a mess. But they're easy enough to relate to, and I found myself caring what happened to them. The ending is a bit of a cliffhanger, however. It's not so much unresolved as a teaser for the next book, with a big problem hanging over the characters. I don't much like that kind of ending, but I'm intrigued enough to read the next book, so it is effective. A good read for fans of Sherlockian mysteries.

I loved the first two in the series but did not finish the third ([Devil's Workshop]) because secret societies and Jack the Ripper and outrageously bumbling police work and personal vendettas against the detective? All in one book? Sorry, that, together with the heart-stopping suspense, was just too much for me (yes, I am a delicate flower). This one was better, though it still contained elements of all that, plus an incipient alcoholic detective, a storyline that upped the quota of mentally deranged serial killers to a point I had a hard time accepting it, and not enough background about one of the serial killers. Finally, it had the grandmother of a cliffhanger ending. What did I like about it, you ask, if it was so bad? Well, that's the thing: it wasn't bad. Excellent writing, atmospheric London scenes and historical accuracy, generally likeable characters (except the ones who, you know, weren't, and many of those were memorable), suspense that built quickly and never really let up (without being over-the-top and offending my delicate sensibilities), the dawn of the forensic era, Fiona. And yes, I will read the next in the series, and not only to find out what happened to Inspector Day. I do suggest it's best to read the entire series, starting with "The Yard," to get the true depths of the characters and because they are really great historical mysteries.

The Harvest Man by Alex Grecian is another excellent installment in the Murder Squad Series!!! If you’ve enjoyed Alex’s previous novels, you’ll enjoy this one. The cast of characters from the past come along for the new adventure. Alex has added a few new characters that just add to the storyline. I truly enjoy Alex’s writing, I feel like I have gone back in time, to when electronics didn’t exist. The novel is a quick read and flows like a masterpiece. The Harvest Man is a great standalone novel, but to get the true depth of the characters, I would always suggest reading the whole series. The cliff hanger at the end of the novel couldn’t have been written any better. I want to know what happens, but I know I will get the answer in the next novel. I can’t think of a better ending. I’ll wait for the next installment.

Suspenseful tale of police work at the end of the 19th century. Enjoyed learning how some of today's basic law enforcement techniques came into being. Would have liked a little more depth as to why the Harvest Man felt so compelled to search for his parents. Hope we learn more about Simon and Robert in future stories, as well as where Mr Day has spent the last year. Good read if you enjoy a series, however did not stand well alone. To many questions left unanswered.

The Harvest Man started with some rather gruesome occurrences. I liked revisiting the characters from the previous books once I got past the detailed descriptions. I just wish that the main characters would get some type of break from all the unpleasantness, and I was not a fan of the cliffhanger ending.

This is the fourth book in Alex Grecian's Murder Squad series. I have read the previous three and liked them all very much. This was no exception. While I think you can read this as stand alone book, you will have a much better understanding of the characters if you have the background of the prior books, especially with regard to Hammersmith's character. I like all these characters so much, that I was delighted to be back in their lives for a short time! I read through this pretty quickly! I love the era/location these are set in (1880's/90's London) and I really enjoyed reading about the slow transformation of the police methods. I was a little surprised by the ending and am very eagerly awaiting the next book to see what happens next! There were a few small parts where I thought the writing was getting a little far afield, I thought the parts with Oliver, the bird, were a bit of a stretch, but it was easy for me to overlook. I think Alex Grecian's writing is excellent though overall. This was a superbly readable book and I appreciate the advance copy.

I have not read the other books in this series, however "The Harvest Man" seems to do a pretty good job of explaining enough important events in the immediately preceding book to allow this new book to work as a standalone. However, there is not much character development here for the two chief protagonists, one current and one former member of the Murder Squad of Scotland Yard. They may have been fleshed out more in the earlier books. Jack the Ripper has been used as a character in way too many books and he is still alive and well in this book. Here he has been joined by two more serial killers. I sort of wish the whole serial killer plot line would be done away with, but I can see its appeal for authors. The lack of credible motivation or coherent plot can all be explained away by saying the suspect is just "crazy". That being said, the book held my interest and I enjoyed it and will probably read others in the series. I liked the hints of rudimentary crime scene investigation procedures. One thing I definitely did not like is that the book ends with a huge cliffhanger. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

I really enjoyed this book. It is the first time i've read anything by Alex Grecian and it won’t be the last. Even though This book is part of a series, I didn't feel lost or disconnected. The characters were well introduced and believable. I'm looking forward to reading more of Mr. Grecian's books.

I read the authors first book "the yard" and I found it hard to read. the plot was interesting enough -- it just didn't move fast. When I was given the ARC of this book I had hoped it wouldn't be the same thing... and it definitely wasn't! I enjoyed this book from the start and the "saucy Jack" storyline was spot on. I am more than looking forward to the next book in the series

I was not sure what to expect with this book, but was very pleasantly surprised. I have never ready anything by this author before, but I will definitely be reading the other books in this series. The plot was fast paced and even though there were several sub plots, everything was tied together at the end. I am putting the rest of the books in this series on my reading list. I can only say "thanks" for giving me the opportunity to read this book and make me aware of a great series!

I have not read anything by this author. Now that I have read this book I will be adding this author to my list of authors to watch. Everything was right about this book... from the storyline, to the characters, tone of the story, and the beginning and ending of the book.

I thank First Reads for giving me a chance to preview The Harvest Man. I had not read any of the previous Detective Day books but Grecian does a good job of providing enough back story that I never felt lost. Though I am now going to go back and read the books prior to this one! The characters in The Harvest Man are well developed, a bit quirky and all around likable. I very much want to know what happens next with all of them. This book had three major plot lines yet Grecian links them at times and at other times he does a brilliant dance where the plots weave around each other but don't necessarily overlap. I finished the book in less than two days and was completely enthralled. I recommend this book for folks who enjoy Anne Perry or other authors of that genre. Alex Grecian is a welcome addition to my book shelf and I look forward to seeing where Walter went, what Jack is up to, what happens with Fiona and Nevil and all the adventures they all will be engaged in next!

I have been wanting to read this series for a while now and thank First Reads for allowing me to read the fourth book in the series, The Harvest Man. Now I will definitely backtrack and read the three previous novels! Though this is the fourth book in a series, I didn’t have a problem catching up with what has happened to the characters or their past cases. Author Alex Grecian provided enough background information so new readers can jump right in. This novel had everything I love in a mystery/procedural novel – great historical detail, well drawn characters, and a mystery that kept me turning pages. Also, besides having a very sick murderer to catch – the Harvest Man – we are also treated with an appearance of Jack the Ripper. This is a great book to curl up with and get lost in another time and another place, while chills run down your spine.


More to Explore

  • The Yard
  • The Black Country
  • The Devil's Workshop
  • The Blue Girl

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