Title: Stalking Jack The Ripper
Series: Stalking Jack The Ripper #1
Author: Kerri Maniscalco
Genre: Historical Fiction, Young Adult
Publication Date: September 20th 2016
Publisher: Jimmy Patterson
Source: Waterstones Amsterdam
SYNOPSIS: This story revolves around the seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth. Having been born a lord’s daughter Audrey has had a life of wealth and privilege but beneath the surface of her social class, frilly dresses and the tedious social activities her aunt forces her to go to, Audrey has a deep and somewhat dark fascination for the gruesome world of forensic medicine. Sneaking out at all hours of the day to her uncle’s laboratory Audrey, unbeknownst to the outside world takes on the role of his apprentice. However, after a string of brutally murdered and mutilated corpses end up at her uncle’s laboratory, it seems a serial killer is on the loose and Audrey, being dragged into the investigation has to walk a fine line between on one hand her dangerous involvement in trying to catch the killer and on the other, the societal conventions that try and prevent her from going anywhere near the danger that is about to come her way.
THOUGHTS: As you can see from my rating i had a great time reading this book! I don’t think i’ve actually every read something similar to this story and it exceeded my expectations in a way i did not expect. I know that a lot of YA readers usually do not read pure mystery novels so I think this book is exactly the right mix between a mystery or thriller and a YA story. While the murders of Jack the Ripper are the main events this book revolves around, it is much more than just that. The book also gives light to the position of a young woman, Audrey Rose, in victorian society and describes her struggle to keep her fascination with ‘unladylike things’ such as forensic science hidden from everyone else. The book details not just her search for the killer but it also describes her struggling to be taken seriously despite of her gender in a natural and believable way. Audrey’s perceptions on gender might be a bit ahead of her time, but she was written in a way that it was still a natural and believable thing for her to be living in victorian times. Audrey is a strong girl who does everything in her power to achieve her goals, but she also fails, she gets scared and gets emotional which makes her relatable and not just a stereotypical ‘strong feminist’ main character. I especially fell in love with the way Kerri Maniscalco wrote this book in such a detailed way. She described Audrey Rose’s fascination for the world of forensic medicine in sometimes gruesome detail and it was clear a lot of research of forensics went into writing this story. All the way from anatomical descriptions of intestines to Audrey Rose being vividly described as being elbow down into someone’s ribcage, this book is absolutely gruesome, creepy most of the time but extremely fascinating.
Whereas i can be a bit apprehensive to the romantic sides of most YA books, the ever evolving relationship between Audrey Rose and Thomas Cresswell, a young man who becomes Audrey’s uncles’ second apprentice and later joins them in a quest to find Jack The Ripper, was executed perfectly. The best way i can describe it is, cliche but not cliche. Thomas is a bit self-obsessed, arrogant and is clearly fascinated by Audrey from the get-go but their relationship is fun and evolves in a natural and believable way instead of going from hating one another to falling in love from one chapter to the other. It is pretty clear from the beginning that this is Audrey’s love interest, but that doesn’t make reading their dialogues and their adventure together any less enjoyable. I also want to note that there’s actual value to the side characters in this book, in Stalking Jack The Ripper I felt like the side characters were interesting and meaningful instead of tools for the progression of the main characters.
The only reason I gave this book 4 and not 5 stars was because about half-way through i correctly predicted the identity of Jack The Ripper, which did bother me a little but i’m not sure if that is because i have read and watched too many crime related stories or just that it was increasingly easy to guess. To be fair though, it definitely did not bother me that much for me to not read all the way to the end because the way it all went down I could have never guessed and I immensely enjoyed racing through those last couple of pages. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading murder mysteries and to those who enjoy the setting and atmosphere of the victorian era. Kerri Maniscalco since writing this book has also released a 2nd and 3rd part in this series called “Hunting Prince Dracula” and “Escaping from Houdini” which I will definitely be reading this fall!
“I promise. I’ll be as silent as the dead.”
“Ah,” Uncle said, putting a hat on and tugging it low, “the dead speak to those who listen. Be quieter than even them.”
“Roses have both petals and thorns, my dark flower. You needn’t believe something weak because it appears delicate. Show the world your bravery.”
If you like this, you might also enjoy
Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco x
Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children x