“Who is the real monster, Jack or me?”
─ Kerri Maniscalco
“The very idea something so inviting could herald the entrance of this pit of hell made my skin crawl.”
─ Kerri Maniscalco
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Title: Stalking Jack the Ripper
Author: Kerri Maniscalco
Publisher: Jimmy Patterson Books imprint of Little, Brown and Company, New York
Genre: YA Fiction, Gothic Mystery, Thriller, Horror
Ages: 14 +
Audrey Rose Wadsworth is a young woman living a secret life that is entirely scandalous. As a daughter of a lord, born to a life of privilege her behavior is condemned by the polite society of Victorian England. When not required to attend dress fittings or social teas, Audrey Rose spends her time in her uncle’s laboratory. Flaunting the expectations of society and against her father’s wishes, she studies forensic medicine. The endeavor of her studies takes a dangerous turn as Audrey Rose starts to assist her uncle in investigating the gruesome serial murders in Whitechapel.
Each corpse shows the increasing savagery of the killer. Unfortunately, each newly discovered clue leads Audrey Rose into believing she is much closer to the killer than she realized. It seems everyone in her life is suspect, as each new victim seems connected to her family in some manner. Can she discover the identity of the killer before it is to late? What worries her more is the fate of her world when the killer is found.
Book Rating 4/5
Stalking Jack the Ripper is the story about an unconventional girl who is finds herself investigating the savage serial murders in Victorian England. Struggling to follow her interests in forensic medicine despite the disapproval of society and her father. Audrey Rose is willing to go to get lengths to pursue her studies. Her mentor (which also happens to be her uncle) assists the police with murder investigations in the role of coroner. As gruesome murders begin to take place her mentor is asked to examine the bodies of the victims in search of clues. Audrey Rose and a fellow assistant become embroiled in trying to capture “Jack”.
Story does contain some graphic and gory sections as Maniscalco describes in detail the condition of the bodies of the victims of “Jack” , as well as the dissections and autopsies.
Based on the title alone the reader is led to consider or suspect that Audrey Rose knows and has some type of relationship with “Jack”. Maniscalco does cast some doubt on the type of relationship from time to time with her descriptions of Audrey Rose’s interests in forensic science. One could question her developing fascination for “Jack”, if not for the disgust over the treatment of the victims.
Despite the suggestions that Audrey Rose is capable of doing the murders, suspicion never really rest on her due to the fact she is a female, and therefore incapable (never stated, but implied in areas that her sex cannot handle forensic science, death and brutality). Through various degrees of separation, the investigation reveals that each victim is connected to her family in some manner.
I liked the way Maniscalco took the sensationalism and fascination of the “Jack the Ripper” murders and gave an interesting twist on the possible motive behind the savage murders. The story contained a strong female character that struggled with pursuing interests that were considered not only inappropriate by society and viewed as incapable as a female. In addition, the growing evidence leading to the involvement of someone close to her.
My only complaint would be that the main character of Audrey Rose can seem somewhat slow to like. She was shown as trying to remain detached, and in control of her emotions as a tool for her studies. In some areas, there were moments that her emotions got the better of her, but it seemed to subdued for the situation with control regained too quickly.
Despite the main character being slow to like, and the graphic nature of the condition of the victims, I really liked the book. I bought the next two books, Hunting Prince Dracula and Escaping from Houdini written by Kerri Maniscalco following the adventures of Audrey Rose Wadsworth in the Stalking Jack the Ripper series.
Stalking Jack the Ripper series consists of four books. The books are Stalking Jack the Ripper (Book One), Hunting Prince Dracula (Book Two), Escaping from Houdini (Book Three) and Capturing the Devil (Book Four).
To find more information about Kerri Maniscalco, her books, and book tours visit her site:
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