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Thomas Reed’s debut novel, Seeking Hyde, recounts the fascinating history of Robert Louis Stevenson’s epic horror story, Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. It is the tale of a young author defying his father’s wishes by becoming a spinner of romantic yarns. It is the tale of his American wife, ten years older than he, driving her husband hard to write one more great novel before his chronic lung disease carries him away. It is the tale of Stevenson reeling under charges from the mother of an old friend that he had fueled her son’s fatal alcoholism through his recklessly Bohemian ways.

Seeking Hyde sticks closely to the biographical record as Robert Louis Stevenson struggles to write another book to be the successor to Treasure Island. After the infamous two characters, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, take form in a dream, Stevenson writes passionately for three days, convinced that he has crafted his masterpiece. His wife Fanny, a willful and demanding gypsy, offers a scathing critique, obliging him to start over from the beginning. While the revised tale is published to great acclaim, it is ultimately blamed for inspiring a gruesome series of murders in London’s East End.

From that tragic historical irony, Seeking Hyde moves beyond the actual story of how Jekyll and Hyde came to be to explore the realm of “what if?” Desperate to address his own guilt, Stevenson enters the dark underworld of Victorian London. As he follows a twisted path through this midnight landscape, the author-turned-detective wrestles with the social demons of prostitution, police corruption, and the hypocrisy of powerful men—ultimately coming face-to-face with Jack the Ripper himself.

Available now from Beaufort Books.


(3/15/19: Seeking Hyde has been named a Finalist in the 2018 Indies Book of the Year Award in the Historical Fiction Category)

Seeking Hyde is a riveting convergence of fact and fiction. Reed reveals a compelling and complex Robert Louis Stevenson — the writer he was, the man he wanted to be, and the detective he might have been.

—Susan Perabo, author of The Fall of Lisa Bellow

Seeking Hyde is a stunning debut, rich beyond measure in wit and wisdom, truth and tenderness. Every passage is a gem, every chapter a page-turner.

—Robert Olmstead, author of Savage Country

There is much to like about Reed's novel: The focus on this most classic study of man's split nature fascinates, and the description of the setting, especially a dark and seedy London torn by a similar duality, satisfies.”

—Kirkus Reviews, 2018

An addictive read, Seeking Hyde pulls us into the life and work of Robert Louis Stevenson―his writing process, entertaining friendships, fiery marriage, and complex, brilliant mind. A perfect novel for anyone with a passion for books and love of literary thrillers, Seeking Hyde entertains as it unmasks the man behind some of the greatest works of British literature.

—Virginia Pye, author of Dreams of the Red Phoenix & River of Dust

One part literary portrait, and one part thriller, Thomas Reed’s debut novel deftly reconstructs the very origins of Robert Louis Stevenson’s singular imagination, his memories and his dreams, his demons and his longings. You don’t need to be a Stevenson aficionado to become totally absorbed by the encounters Reed creates between the famous author of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and a trio of intimate interlocutors: the sexologist, John Addington Symonds, the novelist, Henry James, and Stevenson’s outspoken and stalwart soul-mate, wife, and nurse, the American-born Fanny. Like the book by Stevenson that inspires it, Reed’s novel dares to entertain “the abysmal deeps of personality” and the “ambiguities of life itself.”

 —Mary Cappello, author of Life Breaks In: A Mood Almanack

An author in his prime trying to write another classic, the liveliest of 1880s marriages, bar room brawls, sharp words, sleuthing among friends and to top it all off: Jack the Ripper. What Thomas Reed has gone and done with Robert Louis Stevenson — real and imagined —is a romping good read.

—Mary Murphy, New York Times Best-Selling author of Scout, Atticus & Boo: A Celebration of "To Kill a Mockingbird"