While on routine patrol in the tinder-dry Topanga Canyon, environmental scientist Rafael Salazar expects to find animal poachers, not a dilapidated antique steamer trunk. Inside the peculiar case, he discovers a journal, written by the renowned Robert Louis Stevenson, which divulges ominous particulars about his creation of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. It also promises to reveal a terrible secret—the identity of Jack the Ripper.
Unfortunately, the journal—whose macabre tale unfolds in an alternating narrative with Rafe’s—isn’t the only relic in the trunk, and Rafe isn’t the only one to purloin a souvenir. A mysterious flask containing the last drops of the grisly potion that inspired Jekyll and Hyde and spawned London’s most infamous killer has gone missing. And it has definitely fallen into the wrong hands.
When I first laid eyes upon Robert Masello’s The Jekyll Revelation, I felt excitement. What could be better than combining Jekyll and Hyde with Jack the Ripper? In theory, nothing. Unless it’s this book. With an agonizingly slow advancement of plot and painfully dull characters, The Jekyll Revelation felt like a waste of my time. Thank god there was an audiobook accompaniment, or I wouldn’t have finished it.
The Jekyll Revelation goes back and forth in time, alternating between present day California where Rafe and Heidi (who vanishes halfway through the story, along with the repercussions for Rafe’s actions) patrol the desert and the past, where Robert Louis Stevenson, only just now writing his famed The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, is slowly dying from consumption. The latter portions are told in first person, as it is the recounting of Stevenson’s fictional life by journal. Many of these chapters could be removed and the book would be the same.
I guess it could be said that my biggest quarrel with this book is its slow progression. It isn’t until the final quarter of the novel that anything picks up, and by then the present is damn near irrelevant. Sure, there’s some loose ends that get tied up in the present, but it just feels hollow and empty.
Overall, I didn’t like this book. Fellow members of the #spookyfriendsbookclub seem to also have given it up, with only one member still reading it. I likely won’t be including Masello in future votes.