Book Reviews · Historical Fiction · Mystery · Young Adult

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco – Book Review

Goodreads Synopsis:

A deliciously creepy horror novel with a story line inspired by the Ripper murders and an unexpected, blood-chilling conclusion…
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.
The story’s shocking twists and turns, augmented with real, sinister period photos, will make this debut from author Kerri Maniscalco impossible to forget.

As I was reading this book, I realized that I have read very few historical mystery novels – apparently I gravitate toward contemporary mysteries instead.  Who knew?!  I’ve always held a strong fascination with the first publicized serial killer, Jack the Ripper, so I would have to say that reading a novelization/dramatization of the historical events was right up my alley!

Personally, I really connected with the main character, Audrey Rose.  Ordinarily, authors rely on 2 tropes for YA: vapid, self-absorbed princesses that are more interested in their appearances than anything else, or curious intellects that groan every time their mother forces them into a ball gown.  I loved that Audrey was a combination of the two, just a girl that likes to analyze cadavers and hunt for serial killers but also appreciates a gorgeous gown.  TBH, that’s me to a T (minus the cadavers… the stench still haunts me 7 years after sophomore year anatomy and physiology).  It was also fantastic to see her challenging the norm of her time, be it socially acceptable gender activities to how to have a conversation with a boy.

“Wield your assets like a blade, Cousin.  No man has invented a corset for our brains.  Let them think they rule the rule.  It is a queen who sits on that throne.  Never forget that.  There’s no reason you can’t wear a simple frock to work, then don the finest gown and dance the night away.  But only if it pleases you.”

Personally, I wish that Maniscalco would have focused solely on bad@$$ Audrey without tying in a romantic component.  Don’t get me wrong – Thomas was definitely the kind of love interest I would have been drawn to as a young adult, and historically it made sense.  Even so, when I’m reading YA, I inevitably think how immature I was at that age and how incapable I was at making life-altering decisions.  Audrey was such a strong, unique heroine and I loved getting to know her.

Overall, I found this book to be just plain enjoyable, and I’m glad I judged a book by it’s cover chose to order it.   Also, I’m glad I took a chance and ordered the next two books in the series (they’re standalones), Hunting Prince Dracula and Escaping from Houdini.  I definitely plan to crack them open soon!

Get your copy here!



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