Stalking Jack the Ripper: Review

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I'm not one for murder mysteries because I can get a bit squeamish, but Stalking Jack the Ripper, Kerri Maniscalco's debut novel, was the perfect mix of intrigue, wit, and storytelling. Set in Victorian England, she introduces two compelling characters- a fiercely independent woman named Audrey Rose Wadsworth and the infuriatingly clever Thomas Cresswell.

GOODREADS SUMMARY

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, #1 New York Times bestselling debut from author Kerri Maniscalco impossible to forget.

MY REVIEW

Perhaps my favorite thing about Stalking Jack the Ripper is how unabashedly murderous it is. It dives right into the technical details of autopsies and does not shy away from detailing crime scenes. It is brutally honest when it comes to these descriptions and that lends a sense of authenticity to the book. At its core, Stalking Jack the Ripper is inspired by historical fiction and many of the details about the hunt for Jack the Ripper are accurate. It makes sense that the gory details are authentic as well.

Brutal murders aside, my favorite character in the entire book is Mr. Thomas Cresswell. He is dashing, infuriatingly clever, and is quite the Sherlock. I think that he's given the best dialogue in the book. Notice that I preferred him over Audrey Rose Wadsworth, our narrator and protagonist. While there are personality traits of hers that I certainly admired, I also found her... annoying. And maybe it was just her circumstances. She is constrained by Victorian society to be a proper young woman, with all of its rules of etiquette and propriety. Naturally, Audrey Rose spends much of the book trying to break free from this gilded cage- no, contemplating how to break free from this gilded cage.. It's a fight that has its modern parallels, but I could have done without following Audrey Rose's trains of thought. Action, Audrey Rose, take action!

I was determined to be both pretty and fierce, as Mother had said I could be. Just because I was interested in a man’s job didn’t mean I had to give up being girly. Who defined those roles anyhow?
— Stalking Jack the Ripper, Kerri Maniscalco

As I mentioned earlier, murder mysteries typically aren't my thing. But Stalking Jack the Ripper is a thrilling YA novel. It was a great break between the fantasies that I typically read and was especially fun to read on Halloween week.

I rate Stalking Jack the Ripper 4/5 stars!

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