Presented by James Patterson’s new children’s imprint, this deliciously creepy horror novel has a storyline 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 dazzling debut from author Kerri Maniscalco impossible to forget.
SERIES: Stalking Jack the Ripper #1
GENRE: Historical Mystery, Young Adult
PUBLISHER: Jimmy Patterson
RELEASE DATE: September 20, 2016
“There’s nothing better than a little danger dashed with some romance.”
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I signed up to review Kerri Maniscalco’s debut novel Stalking Jack the Ripper, but I couldn’t resist the subject matter. I’ve always been intrigued by unsolved history as well as by strong female characters who can’t resist investigating a puzzle. This combined the best of both of those worlds, tossing in a bit of romance (quite swoonworthy in its own right), a bit of fascinating early-stage forensic science, a bit of the gothic and a hint of steampunk for good measure. Plus, despite the rather gory parts, as long as someone can stomach the blood and guts (and I don’t use that phrase lightly) there’s really nothing else to be wary of (i.e., no profanity or intimate scenes) for readers who are looking for “clean fiction”. The description says it’s a horror novel, but it would really classify it more as a gothic thriller … perhaps not for the faint of heart.
Audrey Rose is a fantastic heroine, balking against the restraints of Victorian London society and dreaming of a day “when girls could wear lace and makeup – or no makeup at all and don burlap sacks if they desired – to their chosen profession without it being deemed inappropriate.” I loved how she didn’t want to abandon girliness for the sake of her dreams … but she didn’t want to be bound by it either.
Maniscalco’s writing is captivating and immerses you in the scene until you are unable to look away. There were many occasions when I stopped and re-read a sentence/paragraph because it was just so moving. Or striking. Or both.
“Death was not prejudiced by mortal things such as station or gender. It came for kings and queens and prostitutes alike, often leaving the living with regrets.”
MY one regret in the story is Audrey Rose’s break with God, mostly due to her mother’s tragic death. I totally understand it – in an effort to find answers, she abandons the God she feels abandoned her and turns instead to science. In her words, “God no longer held dominion over my soul.” I am hoping that as the series continues this will be explored a bit more, but I was a bit sad that we didn’t see much in this book. I think it has fantastic potential to be a very moving part of Audrey Rose’s character, and I’m interested to see where Maniscalco takes it.
Bottom Line: Riveting and engrossing, Stalking Jack the Ripper is a book that you won’t be able to put down. The science will captivate you, the case will enthrall you, and Audrey Rose will win your heart. While gory in parts and disturbing in others, the very nature of the Jack the Ripper murders leads this to be rather expected. In all other ways, I consider this a “clean read” and highly recommend it for fans of Sherlock Holmes (LOVE one of the main characters’ Holmesian deduction skills), Bones, and even the Murdoch Mysteries.
(I received a copy of this book in exchange for only my honest review.)
My Rating: 4 stars / Fantastic!
KissingBook Level: 3 / Will forget to breathe on occasion
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. Stalking Jack the Ripper is her debut novel. It incorporates her love of forensic science and unsolved history, and is the first in a new series of gothic thrillers.
What about you? What’s an unsolved case that fascinates you?