I had never heard of Stalking Jack the Ripper until I listened to Kerri Maniscalco talk about it at BEA 2016. I never would have picked up this book otherwise. I don’t read horror, and the last Victorian era book I read, Etiquette and Espionage, I really did not enjoy. But the things Kerri said about this book changed my mind.
She wrote this book for her grandmother who always loved a good whodunnit. I have started enjoying mysteries more and more, so I was intrigued by this comment. She wanted to incorporate her love of forensic science into her book. Hmm. Even more appealing, I love science and during college I loved Robin Cook’s books about pathology and solving crime. What really hooked me though was when she talked about the main character, Audrey Rose, and her attempts to be true to herself (vs. finding herself which is a typical YA theme) in a society that did not want young women to do anything. I love strong female characters, and I knew I would love Audrey Rose.
In Stalking Jack the Ripper, Audrey Rose is an apprentice in her uncle’s forensics lab. They’re working diligently to discover Leather Apron (a.k.a. Jack the Ripper). Audrey Rose’s father has forbidden her to work with her uncle because their relationship is strained after her mother’s death, following a surgery her uncle performed. Her older brother is slightly more supportive, but he keeps warning her to be careful and not stray outside the house alone because a mad killer is on the lose. Audrey Rose defies them both and goes snooping around at night with her uncle’s other apprentice, Thomas.
This book is more mystery and detective story rather than horror, which pleased me greatly. Some of the descriptions of the murder victims are a little gory, so if you have a weak stomach, this book may not be for you.
The plot unfolds a little slowly, mostly because the writing is overly descriptive. Something I do not enjoy. I often felt like full paragraphs or pages even could have been removed. Along that vein, I was kind of wishing I was listening to this book on audio. Descriptions work better for me when I hear someone else read them. I did some skimming; I admit.
But the characters more than made up for it, especially since this is book 1 in a series. Audrey Rose is fiercely independent and snarky. She and Thomas banter a lot, and I loved every second of it. Thomas is amazingly smart. He is able to see minute details and draw unbelievable conclusions from them. I was blown away by Kerri’s writing during these parts of the book. I am so glad I’ll get to read more about these characters in additional books.
And speaking of this book being the beginning of a new series, don’t worry about being left hanging. This book wraps up quit nicely, while also setting the stage for the next adventure. It will leave you wanting more of the characters, but it won’t make you wish you’d waited for the series to progress further before starting.
Rating: 4 Stars
Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher at BEA 2016 in exchange for an honest review. This fact does not in any way impact my thoughts/feelings about the book.