The Black Midnight by Kathleen Y’Barbo {book review}

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review. These are my honest thoughts.


Jack the Ripper has fascinated and baffled people for nearly a hundred fifty years. It’s no surprise that this serial killer was featured in a book in the True Colors series about true crime stories.

This was a pretty good story and kept me intrigued most of the time. The reason I lowered my rating from four stars to three was that history was altered simply for the sake of creating a “better” or “more picturesque” setting. The snowy, slushy scenes that created such beautiful atmosphere during which two of the murders took place? Yeah, that snow happened the year before the murders in real life, which was freely admitted in the author’s note at the end of the book. This is a huge pet peeve for me. If the details were researchable, why alter them? Having lived in Texas my whole life, I’m very familiar with how rare snow is in this state. Since it’s so rare, when we get a good snowfall, it’s memorable to the point of remembering which year it was or how old we were when we got it. It’s disappointing to me that this was disregarded for the sake of a story.

The speculation about who might or might not have been Jack the Ripper or the Midnight Assassin did not bother me. These crimes have been long speculated (for nearly a century and a half), so it makes sense that any author writing about the crimes, whether fiction or non, would have to speculate at least a bit, along with doing a ton of research, to make the finale of an unsolved crime believable, even if it ends on an unfinished note (due to the crimes’ having never been solved in real life). This speculation was handled really well and in a realistic way.

I liked that the leading lady was a royal working undercover. Y’all, I don’t think I’ve ever seen that done in a book before! Maybe there are others out there, and I would be interested in hearing your recommendations, because I found this incredibly fun and highly entertaining.

The history of the murders (when they happened, how many there were, where they were located) was interesting, and I was glad to read in the author’s note that these facts were true to history. I didn’t know the Midnight Assassin in Austin existed before Jack the Ripper in London. In fact, I had never heard of the Midnight Assassin before reading this book. I would say the author’s stated goal (in the author’s note) of inspiring readers to dig into the history of these criminals was successful already, because I’m now a lot more curious about these events and want to become more aware of serial killers such as these so that I may be more alert about potential dangerous events around me in the century I live in. This is the same reason why I like watching Forensic Files and crime dramas and reading true crime books (fiction or non) like this one.

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