October 2, 2016
I couldn’t find a trailer, so here’s a song!
I’ve been seeing talk of author Kerri Maniscalco’s debut novel Stalking Jack the Ripper for months. The title of the novel was enough to catch my interest and every now and again I would see mention of the novel and wonder if it was as good as it sounds. After having finally received the opportunity to read Stalking Jack the Ripper and getting to experience the world that Maniscalco’s created out of Victorian era England.
After the death of her mother lead her father to becoming increasingly paranoid, Audrey Rose Wadsworth has been groomed since childhood to be a perfect young lady. But beneath her well-mannered visage and gowns, Audrey has a mind of her own and she wishes to pave a path for herself that goes against her father’s wishes. Each night, Audrey sneaks out to work alongside her uncle as a forensics apprentice. Cutting open cadavers and examining the dead has become Audrey’s greatest secret.
But when her uncle begins to investigate the victims of the infamous Jack the Ripper, Audrey finds herself intent on hunting down the serial killer alongside her uncle’s protégé Thomas. Thomas and Audrey’s pursuit of Jack the Ripper turns into a dangerous game where threats lurk behind every dark corner and where nobody is ever who they claim to be.
Right off the bat, the one thing that made Stalking Jack the Ripper such a memorable read was the world-building. Every word that Maniscalco uses to describe the setting helps paint a picture for the reader that only grows clearer as the novel progresses. The atmosphere of the novel is dark and dreary but not overly gothic or cliché. Stalking Jack the Ripper is a novel that offers the reader a world that is realistic, gory, and frightening.
Readers will fall in love with protagonist Audrey Rose and will cheer her on from the very beginning of the novel. She’s a main character who is headstrong, ambitious, and intelligent. The fact that she’s a woman pursuing sciences during a time when women were expected to be proper above all else does nothing to deter her character. Audrey does what she wants to despite her gender and recognizes that she can do anything with her mind that a man can. Watching her attempt to solve the mystery of Jack the Ripper’s identity is a thrilling adventure that readers will be hooked on.
I loved the world of Stalking Jack the Ripper and I loved its cast of characters. However, the only thing that irked me about the novel was its pacing. There were moments where the stakes were raised and my heart would be pounding, only to be followed by scenes that were still thrilling but lacked any menace. The pacing in the novel was inconsistent and by the end of the novel, some things simply felt too safe for my liking.
I would recommend Stalking Jack the Ripper to readers who are interested in reading a novel set in Victorian London that includes a plot filled with mystery and romance. Readers who are trying to ease their way into YA thrillers should pick up this read, as well as any readers who are looking for a read that will satisfy any dark curiosities that they have. This is the perfect read for fans of Meghan Shepard’s The Madman’s Daughter.