I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
Release date: September 20th, 2016
Publisher: Jimmy Patterson
Genre: Young adult, historical fiction, mystery
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.
I cannot accurately explain how excited I was for this book! As soon as I saw the title I was sold. I’ve had the strange fascination with the Jack the Ripper murders ever since I visited London when I was in high school. Part of our trip included a Jack the Ripper walk, a guided walking tour of Whitechapel at night. It was creepy and the murders completely revolting, but the fact that Jack had never been caught and the reasons behind why these terrible acts were committed have captivated me.
So, in my excitement, I added it to my TBR, joined the street team, Knights of Whitechapel, and sent off a Hail Mary ARC request to Jimmy Patterson. I waited and hoped for weeks and then…AN ARC COPY ARRIVED!!! It was the best piece of mail I’ve received all year. I started reading it right away. My other books and piles of grading could wait. So, while I now have an insane amount of work to complete, it was so worth it! Stalking Jack the Ripper was everything I could have wanted and more.
The story is focused on a young English aristocrat, Audrey Rose Wadsworth, who wants to break free from the restrictions of society. She wants to practice forensic medicine and begins working with her uncle examining bodies of the deceased in his laboratory. I just loved Audrey Rose’s attitude! She wasn’t going to let anything stop her from doing what she wanted, even if society would cast her out. But she’s more than just an intelligent woman bucking societal rules. Audrey Rose’s character is a complex one and I really appreciated that. She comes off as confident, but there is a lot of self doubt and she is constantly trying to keep her emotions in check. She fights an uphill battle but that just made me love her even more.
I also just adored the very dashing and huge flirt, Thomas Cresswell. The witty dialogue between him and Audrey Rose was perfect! I just grinned a lot while reading their conversations. They are just too darn adorable together! Seriously! I spent most of the story yelling “just kiss already” at my book! The two of them had a very Holmes and Watson-like vibe happening as they adventured around London looking for clues. What sealed the deal for my with Thomas was how he supported Audrey Rose. He did’t want to shove her back into her gilded cage, but have her continue to grow and better herself. As much as I wanted it, the romance was the focus of the story. It’s more of a slow burner that I hope will be further explored in the sequel.
I’m a huge fan of books set during the Victorian era. There’s something dark and dangerous about that period and Stalking Jack the Ripper perfectly embodies that. The author obviously did a lot of research into the Jack the Ripper murders, etiquette of the period and forensic medicine. I especially enjoyed the inclusion of images of locations or medical instruments at the beginning of selected chapters. These images helped to transport you back in time and set the mood for the chapter. While on the topic, the whole design of the book is fantastic! Besides the images, each chapter title is decorated with a blood platter motif. And the cover is just gorgeous and kind of creepy! The turquoise dress and the knife? YES!!!!
Stalking Jack the Ripper is easily one of my favourite books this year. It’s dark, moody, full of history and white characters that will definitely keep you on your toes. And the best part? It’s now going to be a trilogy which means more murder and mystery from Audrey Rose! I’ve already added the next book to my TBR, I’m that excited. Waiting a whole year is going to be very difficult.
In case you missed it, I created a Stalking Jack the Ripper inspired playlist as part of the Knights of Whitechapel blog tour.
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.