Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco (2016)
YA Fiction | Historical | Crime & Mystery
“Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord’s daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.
Against her stern father’s wishes and society’s expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle’s laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.”
pooled ink Review:
This book absolutely had me interested from the moment I read the title. What had me a bit hesitant to read this book however was the forensic science aspect. Truly the detail and continual reference to human anatomy and the clues that can be found in corpses was one of the most winning and impressive aspects of this book, but as I’m squeamish I admit that it is this same delving into gore that had me occasionally skimming or detaching from the book. If you’re not squeamish like me though then you really ought to give this book a try because gore aside it was rather good.
I never watch doctor shows or CSI or anything containing scenes that show more than a bit of blood or a very cold barely mutilated corpse, but if you are a fan of those types of TV shows then you’ll definitely love this book. I just admitted that I don’t like such things and I still enjoyed reading this mystery.
Onto the lead characters!
Overall I felt that Audrey Rose was a bit… I’m not sure what it was, we just didn’t click. I admit I had trouble connecting with her, but she’s still a rather well written protagonist. She’s passionate, pointed, determined, and smart.
Her partner, Thomas, took a very long time to win me over. His charm and wit really just came across as irritating arrogance. He’s handsome and intelligent and he knows it. Despite a few scenes that made me laugh or smile, I really didn’t fall in love with him. His shrewd monologues of deduction were reminiscent to popular adaptations of Sherlock Holmes, even down to the arrogant faux-humbleness with which these deductions were explained.
However seeing Audrey Rose and Thomas together worked very well on the page. They worked harmoniously despite how irritating she thought he was. The romance was a bit sporadic to me though. It was obvious from the start that he loved and admired her but he often got in his own way to winning her affections. As for Audrey Rose, she was continually annoyed by his personality but entranced by his looks, then it felt as if suddenly she was in love with him.
As the murderer called “Leather Apron” or “Jack the Ripper” is hunted down, several suspects arise over the course of the book. However I was never really convinced by any of them. There simply wasn’t enough for me to take any accusations or theories seriously – there was either a lack of convincing evidence or the evidence was too obvious to possibly be the clever conclusion I anticipated. In fact the final suspect is pursued so assuredly that I knew the murderer could only be one person. And it was. But hey, I’d never ever have suspected this person if it weren’t for the list being narrowed down first.
I really liked the idea for this book a lot. It’s quite well written and thought out as well. The plot is laid out like a crime novel, murders begin plaguing London in 1888 and we follow Audrey Rose, Thomas, and Dr. Wadsworth as they pick apart flesh and facts gathering clues, hunting down buried truths, interrogating every link, witness, and organ until they finally come to the end of the twisting tunnel stunned with the mystery’s dark secrets laid bare before them.
This is the first book in a series of forensic mysteries. So although this mystery is concluded we can look forward to more adventures with Audrey Rose and Thomas.
Stalking Jack the Ripper sends chills down your spine and ignites intrigue in your smile as it delivers determined forensic sleuths, gruesome murders, a whiff of romance, and autopsies aplenty. Taking one of the most infamous serial killers in history and dogging his steps with a fresh twist, Maniscalco writes a story that is equally thrilling and horrifying.
Purchase here: Stalking Jack the Ripper
P.S. I’ll always know what year Jack the Ripper began his spree all thanks to Psych: The Musical. Thank you Guster 😉
And be sure to stay tuned for the next book in the series, Hunting Prince Dracula, coming out September 19, 2017!
Meet Kerri Maniscalco!
Kerri Maniscalco grew up in a semi-haunted house outside NYC where her fascination with gothic settings began. In her spare time she reads everything she can get her hands on, cooks all kinds of food with her family and friends, and drinks entirely too much tea while discussing life’s finer points with her cats.
Her first novel in this series, Stalking Jack the Ripper, debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. It incorporates her love of forensic science and unsolved history.