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

The Madness Underneath (Shades of London, #2)

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. 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.

Source: Through Netgalley from Penguin Young Readers for review purposes

Disclaimer:  The following is a review for the second book in a series. If you didn’t read the first one, there are definitely spoilers. Read Kristina’s review for The Name of the Star.


Rory is in Bristol recovering from a knife in the stomach delivered by “Jack the Ripper,” the ghost that was causing so much havoc around her new London school. She’s seeing a therapist and wasting time talking about things that don’t matter because she cannot tell her the truth.  The truth is that she is a shade, someone who can see ghosts, and she helped to find and destroy the ghost that was impersonating the infamous Jack the Ripper.  But now, she’s actually been left with an amazing power that we saw at the end of The Name of the Star.  She’s become a human terminus, meaning that with her touch, she can “kill” (for lack of a better word) ghosts.

Stephen Dene is a London police officer and the head of the Shades.  He learns what Rory can do and works it out so that she can return to London (and school).  Rory just has to find him and the other Shades, Boo and Callum.


Rory’s new power is not something she’s comfortable with. It seems like a lot of responsibility to ask of someone, to touch ghosts to make them disappear.  She’s scared and concerned about what this means.  Stephen wants her to stay in London, maybe eventually join the Shades for real, but Rory needs time to think about it.  In the meantime, she finds a new therapist, someone who makes it easier for her talk about what happened to her.  This new therapist seems like a god-send and Rory finally has an outlet for all the anxiety she has surrounding what happened with the Ripper. Also, around this time, Rory stumbles upon what she thinks is a new series of ghost attacks around her campus, but she has to convince Stephen and the others that the murder of a local barkeeper isn’t as cut and dry as they think it is.

Overall Thoughts:

This book was really great fun (though maybe fun isn’t exactly the right word).  There were a lot of surprises (especially the end), but it kept me interested and on the edge of my seat.  I have to say that, being the middle book in the series, it does suffer for want of a proper conclusion (because it’s all being set up for book three).  I didn’t like how it ended and was appropriately upset with what happened, but I can see potential there. The ending actually was in my head as I went to sleep that night and I think I worked out what can/should happen in the next book. It will be interesting to see if that is the direction Ms. Johnson goes. I am on pins and needles for the next book.

Pecans: 4/5


3 thoughts on “The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson (Shades of London #2)

  1. bookgoonie March 13, 2013 at 8:50 am Reply

    I kind of skimmed the review through my fingers. Trying to keep the spoilers at bay, since the first one is sitting on my TBR shelf. It’ll be my first Maureen read…hopefully soon!

    • Daphne March 13, 2013 at 9:09 am Reply

      oh, they’re very good. i hope you like them!

  2. Top 10 Tuesday #76 | Gone Pecan June 25, 2013 at 8:09 am Reply

    […] Another book I waited too long to read. This one made me cry, but it was so very well done. 9.  The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson – Oh man, this book…the ending, especially, was completely […]

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