Book Review: Stalking Jack The Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
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.
Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads.
Series: Stalking Jack The Ripper #1
Author: Kerri Maniscalco
Publication Date: September 20, 2016
Publisher: Jimmy Patterson
Page Count: 326
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Horror
Cover Artist: ---
My Rating: ★★★★
“The first rule in tracking a madman should be to never believe their moves were predictable. It was a hard lesson to learn, with astronomically devastating consequences.”
Audrey Rose Wadsworth is a lady of a respectable family in 1888 Britain. She is exactly the type of person who shouldn’t be up to her elbows in a blood, examining cadavers, according to society’s standards. But society’s expectations don’t stop her.
There is a murderer on the loose, attacking, maiming, and brutalizing women.
Audrey Rose takes it upon herself to aid her uncle, and his irksome apprentice, Thomas, to solve the mysterious murders by Jack the Ripper, himself.
I thought this read was addicting. Once I picked it up, I had a hard time putting it down.
I’d like to note right away that I don’t think this is an appropriate read for young, young adult readers. Because of the grotesque topics and details given, it requires a more mature, and objective mind.
With being her debut novel, I was impressed with Manicscalco’s writing. I’m always more lenient with debuts because writing is like a muscle. It needs time to be honed to perfection. But Maniscalco’s quality of craft is apparent. Her artistic prose pepper a dismal tale with sunspots of radiance.
“Winter was biting at autumn’s toes, reminding the milder season it’d be here soon.”
“Questions married other questions and had theories for children.”
A book in this genre isn’t my typical type of read. But I’m glad I took the chance in picking it up. I won’t discuss much in this review because I simply don’t want to give anything away to anyone who wants to read it.
Our main character, Audrey Rose, is an interesting combination of poise, action, and intent. Despite her tendency to expatiate on her mental ruminations, she was well-written. She wasn’t the overruling female character, which was refreshing.
Thomas Cresswell is just as intriguing. Perhaps mysterious, Sherlock Holmes-y characters will have that effect on me. Despite what society expects of him as a gentleman, he doesn’t overlook Audrey Rose’s capabilities, and encourages her to use her wit and skill to work alongside him and help crack the case.
The physical book adds its own unique experience. Featuring ominous photos and blood spatter, it never allows the reader time to forget that time is of the essence in solving the mystery of the Whitecastle murders.
This book could easily be considered as steampunk, with odd gears and the like as key clues in the murder cases—especially in the finale, which I won’t discuss here. (I guess you’ll just have to read it to see what happens!) However, I would like to point out that certain steps in solving the case could have been expounded on further, as they were rushed and more speculation than anything.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book, much more than I anticipated. Maniscalco cleverly retold this story, with an interesting motive in the end. I’m thoroughly looking forward to more mysteries with Audrey Rose in Hunting Prince Dracula.
Sexual content: Kissing. The book discusses prostitution (not in detail) because the women who were the victims were involved in that vocation.
Violence: Yes. This is a murder mystery, and cadaver dissection is discussed in detail, so it is not for someone with a light stomach.