Thursday, July 13, 2017

Book Review: Stalking Jack the Ripper

Title: Stalking Jack the Ripper (Stalking Jack the Ripper #1)
Author: Kerri Maniscalco
Genre: Young Adult | Historical Fiction 
Publisher: Jimmy Patterson
Publication Date: September 20, 2016
Source: Library
Format: Physical

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 (goodreads).

Stalking Jack the Ripper was an excellent concept, but I found the book to drag more times than not. 
Plot: Stalking Jack the Ripper opened wth Audrey Rose literally opening a cadaver up and studying its cause of death. As a polite woman of 19th-century society, her interest in forensics was barely tolerated by her father and other men who would rather she practice her needle-work. When Leather Apron/Jack the Ripper started killing people associated with her household, she knew that she had to get to the bottom of it. 

As someone who is fascinated by serial killers and the unknown, I was in love with the concept of this novel. The book started strong with Audrey Rose bucking societal trends and the gory description of the mutilated bodies. There were also images taken from the time period included in some chapters to enhance the reading experience. Despite all of that, I was bored at times. Hell, I guessed the murderer by chapter two and motivations before I got to the halfway point of the book. The red herrings were painfully obvious and I felt that Audrey Rose and Thomas took too long to arrive at some conclusions. Saying that, I am still intrigued by what Maniscalco will write for her characters and will be picking up Hunting Dracula. 

Characters: Audrey Rose was a bright young woman. At the age of 17, she identified her professional passions and was very observant of gender inequality in 19th century London. She actually acted a lot older than her 17 years and I was afraid that her obsession to prove herself as capable as a man would alienate her. Luckily, Maniscalco explored other feminine strengths which I was impressed by. 

A big factor in this novel was Audrey Rose's partner in crime, Thomas. Thomas was a charmer, to say the least, and could rival Sherlock Holmes with his observations. While their flirtatious banter was fun, I found it be distracting from the various murders happening. I would have preferred a slower burn romance so that Audrey Rose and Thomas could focus on the mutilated bodies, but that's just me. 

Worldbuilding: I'm such a sucker for historical fiction and I fell in love with 19th century dreary London immediately. Society played a large part in building this world, and I found myself really comfortable in understanding the layout of the world and visualizing everything. 

Short N Sweet: Stalking Jack the Ripper was an interesting take but could have used more action. 


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