Stalking Jack the Ripper
by Kerri Maniscalco
Source: I bought a e-version fairly cheap on Google Books
Genre: Young Adult, Historical fiction, Mystery, Horror
Review: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.
It took me two weeks to finish this book, for a few reasons. One being that I was trying to read three books at once, which rarely goes well for me. Another being that it was an e-book, which I generally find more difficult to read. They're handy because I can read them on my phone, which I always have with me. However, if I have my phone screen in front of me, the temptation to do any- and everything other than read is strong.
That said, I did find that the beginning was a little uninteresting. It wasn't exactly slow, the murders start happening almost immediately, but it didn't quite grab me until a few chapters in.
I really enjoyed the characters. I loved how independent, spunky, and feminine Audrey Rose was, and I fancied how odd, brilliant, and flirtatious Thomas was. I just really liked their chemistry and dialogue.
I appreciated the inclusion of period photos, they helped to really put you in the setting. The photos were creepy, but not gruesome; ranging from medical diagrams to a leper to evidence from the Jack the Ripper case.
I was quite intrigued by this teenage female MC in Victorian England, being so interested in the inner workings of bodies, forensic science, mystery solving, etc. She knows where her interests lie, and nobody's going to stop her - I love that! I loved that her uncle recognized her brilliance and drive and was willing to apprentice her, despite her father's wishes. And, of course, I loved that Thomas was attracted to her brains.
For Audrey Rose's character alone I would give the book five stars, but on top of that, there was a really interesting interpretation of the Jack the Ripper case. I was relatively surprised by the identity of Jack (by that point it was really only down to two possible suspects, in my opinion), and the resolution of the case and how the final evidence was presented to confirm this character's guilt was delightfully creepy and weird.
I found the story to be very tastefully executed, despite a horrific topic. The conclusion was satisfying and could pretty easily be left at that, but it leads so tidily into the next book that I am quite looking forward to reading Hunting Prince Dracula. I believe I would recommend this book, but only if the person appreciates horror and murder mysteries. I wouldn't exactly describe this as a horror, myself, but it does describe some of the horrific facts of the historical case, so... it's kinda creepy and gross in that way.
My Goodreads rating: