Book Review: Stalking Jack the Ripper
Also by this author: Hunting Prince Dracula , Kingdom of the Wicked
Series: Stalking Jack the Ripper #1
Published by Jimmy Patterson on September 20th 2016
Genres: Historical Fiction, Young Adult Fiction
Also in this series: Far from the Tree, Hunting Prince Dracula
Goodreads Synopsis: 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.
Kerri Maniscalco’s Stalking Jack the Ripper is, as its title implies, a retelling of the murderous rampage of infamous serial killer, Jack the Ripper. As I was reading, I couldn’t help but think of it as a cross between the Sherlock Holmes detective stories, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and then on a more modern note, a little Forensic Files with a touch of Rizzoli and Isles thrown in. The end result is a novel that will keep you on the edge of your seat and thoroughly engaged.
Maniscalco does a wonderful job of fleshing out her main character, Audrey Rose Wadsworth and making her seem so realistic. She’s fiercely independent, headstrong, and sassy as all get out, which makes her such a fun character to follow. Even with the overriding creepy serial killer plot, Audrey Rose still managed to make me chuckle quite a few times throughout the novel. You just never know what she is going to say at any given moment, but you can pretty much guarantee that it will be completely inappropriate based on society’s expectations. Speaking of society’s expectations, Audrey Rose truly doesn’t give a flip about those and instead is way ahead of her time and wants to pursue a career in forensic medicine. When the novel opens, she is, much to her father’s chagrin, working as an apprentice to her Uncle, who is an expert in the field. I kept thinking to myself “She’s like a Victorian Era Maura Isles” (from the popular series Rizzoli and Isles).
Maniscalco also adds a character flaw or two, which serve to further humanize Audrey Rose. Recklessness, in particular, seems to be a hallmark trait of hers. While it’s easy to admire how passionate Audrey Rose is about catching this serial killer who is on the loose, at the same time, I wanted to scream at her at times for lurking around in shady areas of the city and putting herself in harm’s way trying to catch him in the act. It was downright infuriating actually. For someone who is clearly supposed to be quite intelligent, Audrey Rose definitely doesn’t always make the smartest choices.
Speaking of infuriating, let me talk about another main character, Thomas Cresswell. Cresswell is another student of Audrey Rose’s uncle and may actually be the most arrogant and annoying person on the planet. However, he is as brilliant as he is arrogant and annoying and somehow the combination actually works to make him incredibly charming. Weird, right? As they study the Ripper’s victims, Cresswell’s powers of deductive reasoning are so astute that every time he spoke, he reminded me of a young Sherlock Holmes. From the moment they meet, he gets under Audrey Rose’s skin and their chemistry is off the charts. I don’t know if I would ever buy into them as a couple, but they are quite the dynamic duo as they work together to solve these murders.
Aside from these two entertaining main characters, Maniscalco also does a brilliant job of making the reader feel as if they are truly in 19th century London and that there really is a killer on the loose. It was clear Maniscalco did her research on every aspect of the story. The descriptions of the city feel authentic and the atmosphere at night is utterly creepy. You can practically sense the danger lurking around every corner, which makes for a real page turner.
I think my only real dislike was that even though this was a retelling and so the author had creative license to make Jack the Ripper whoever she wanted him to be, I still had the murderer figured out way too soon. In that sense, I was a little disappointed. The murderer’s reasoning for the killings was quite another matter though. Totally did not see that coming and liked the unexpected Dr. Frankenstein-ish twist.
I very much enjoyed Stalking Jack the Ripper and would recommend it to anyone who is interested in historical fiction, anything to do with the crimes of Jack the Ripper, or even an interest in forensic medicine or 19th century society’s expectations for its young women. I would issue a word of caution to anyone who doesn’t like to read about blood and gore, however. As is probably expected since we’re dealing with the Ripper and his victims and we’re examining the victims from the vantage point of forensic scientists, the descriptions of the victims are quite graphic and stomach-turning. It’s definitely not for the faint of heart. If that doesn’t bother you though, it’s a fascinating read.
ooh, hello historical fiction sass! And some excellent atmosphere/worldbuilding too — you have me enjoying the idea of this book!
It was such an entertaining read. I really can’t wait to get my hands on the sequel and see how this author handles Romania and Vlad the Impaler!
I don’t know why I haven’t added this book to my TBR sooner – it sounds so amazing! Really great review, I love that the author is really able to capture the setting!
I had added it to my TBR ages ago but only just finally committed to read it because of the backlist challenge I’m doing. It was a really quick and entertaining read. As well as the author captured 19th century London, I’m excited to read the sequel and see how she handles Romania and Vlad the Impaler!
I’ve been seeing a lot about this book and it really does seem like something I’d like, so maybe I’ll have to check it out! I feel like the arrogant-yet-charming love interest (or side character) is very hit or miss with me. I either LOVE them or I want to murder them. I almost never feel indifferent about them. Great review. (:
Haha, I know exactly what you mean about those arrogant yet charming love interests! I started out wanting to strangle Thomas but then thankfully he grew on me.
I like the sens of atmosphere and Audrey sounds like a great character. I’ve never been much into Jack the Ripper since it just seems like such a horrendous thing, but I have to admit this book has me really curious. I may have to try it! I’m curious to see her take and I love the idea of the spooky London at night setting. Great review!
I’ll admit I was a little hesitant at first for the same reason, but I liked that the author had clearly done her research and so handled the facts of the murders well.
Glad to see you enjoyed this one overall! I thought this book was so much fun, though I wholeheartedly agree that it was a bit too easy to figure out who the murderer was. I also totally see the Victorian era Maura Isles! (I’m still so sad that that show is over, just as a side note…) Lovely review! ::)
OMG, me too. I loved Rizzoli and Isles so much.
I loved this book so much, I have such a fascination for learning about serial killers and such so I was so excited to read this! I really loved this book and now I can’t wait to read the sequel! Great review 💖
I can’t wait for the sequel either. Such a great series!
I know others guessed the killer, but I really didn’t. haha I did like the Frankenstein aspect of it though. I totally thought Thomas was like Sherlock. Loved this one!
The Frankenstein aspect of it was so wild. I really can’t wait to see what this author does with Vlad the Impaler in the next book!
This is one that’s been on my TBR since early last year when I first heard about it! I’m happy to see 4 stars here and it definitely sounds like it could be a great one for me.
I hope you enjoy it! I loved this one so much that I can’t wait to get my hands on the next book in the series, which deals with Vlad the Impaler.
Vlad the Impaler! Oh wow, I didn’t know that and now I’m even more excited for this one. Thanks!
Me too! I actually think the second book may interest me even more than the first one did.
So glad to see you loved this book! This was one of my favorite books from last year, and I am dying for the sequel 🙂 Amazing review! Thanks for sharing your thoughts 😀
Brittany @ Brittany’s Book Rambles
Oh yes, it was so amazing. I can’t wait for the sequel either!