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The Madness Underneath (Shades of London #2) by Maureen Johnson

The Madness Underneath (Shades of London, #2)The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

"After her near-fatal run-in with the Jack the Ripper copycat, Rory Devereaux has been living in Bristol under the close watch of her parents. So when her therapist suddenly suggests she return to Wexford, Rory jumps at the chance to get back to her friends. But Rory's brush with the Ripper touched her more than she thought possible: she's become a human terminus, with the power to eliminate ghosts on contact. She soon finds out that the Shades--the city's secret ghost-fighting police--are responsible for her return. The Ripper may be gone, but now there is a string of new inexplicable deaths threatening London. Rory has evidence that the deaths are no coincidence. Something much more sinister is going on, and now she must convince the squad to listen to her before it's too late. 

In this follow-up to the Edgar Award-nominated THE NAME OF THE STAR, Maureen Johnson adds another layer of spectacularly gruesome details to the streets of London that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end."


As with most second books in a series, this book is a transition towards something bigger (and possibly better) to come in the next book. The ending was a shocker but it give promise to whatever is to come.

"You cannot tell your therapist you have been stabbed by a ghost. You cannot tell her that you could see the ghost because you developed the ability to see dead people after choking on some beef at dinner." (loc.196)

I liked this book because it wasn't overly complicated and didn't take long to get through, thanks to the author leaving little breadcrumbs that give just enough suspense to follow from. Rory's character evolves in her talents, but I feel she does the reverse when it comes towards her self-confidence and will. The ending gives hope that she'll become a stronger character in the next book. Callum, Boo and Stephen return to this book and become more essential in her life than the people at Wexford, which aids in Rory's character of leaving her adolescence and finding her own meaning in life.

"I suppose, on some level, I suspected it. Like everything else today, I hadn't really understood it fully--it made no sense--but it shouldn't have surprised me. I had reached the point where surprises were no longer really possible." (loc.2601)

The book's pace was a little off with little mishaps happening here and there before the author totally pulls the rug from under her reader at the end. I loved the fast paced scenes, but they were all clumped together towards the end of the book, leaving just a casual easy-going read for the earlier parts. There were a few chapters that didn't seem to advance the plot at all, as if it were just filler. Being completely different from the first book (as there are no major murder mysteries, nor ripper related matter,) The Madness Underneath focuses on Rory's mental health and new abilities of being able to terminate ghosts with just a touch of her finger. As she tries, and fails, to adjust to normal life she goes through a series of stress, failures, paranoia, and most of all, loss. Rory's world is falling apart.

First Line: "Charlie Strong liked his customers--you don't run a pub for twenty-one years if you don't like your customers-- but there was something about the quiet in the morning that pleased him to no end." (loc.40)
Last Line:"I would find him--wherever or whatever he was, I was going to find him." (loc.2842)


"Yup. Those were my books. Familiar, yet foreign, a wealth of information stashed behind every spine." (loc.425)

"'I think we can be reasonably sure your hypothesis was correct,' Stephen said, over the noise. 'There was something down here.' 'Yep,' I said." (loc.1713)

*Quotes are from uncorrected advanced galleys and may change before going to press. Please refer to the final printed book for official quotes.

Galley provided by NetGalley via Penguin Young Readers Group | Putnam

View all my reviews

ebook384 pages
Expected publication: February 26th 2013 by Putnam Juvenile
1101607831 (ISBN13: 9781101607831)


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