Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Length: 337 pages
Series: Stalking Jack the Ripper, Book 1
Genres: Historical Fiction, Young Adult, Mystery, Historical, Horror
Publication date: September 20, 2016
Without lifting his head from his own journal, he said, “Not having any luck figuring me out, then? Don’t worry, you’ll get better with practice. And, yes” – he grinned wickedly, eyes fixed on his paper – “You’ll still fancy me tomorrow no matter how much you wish otherwise. I’m unpredictable, and you adore it. Just as I cannot wrap my massive brain around the equation of you and yet adore it.”
(Ch. , p. 66)
Audrey Rose, seventeen years old, was born the daughter of a lord into the life of luxury. Yet between the tea servings and silk dress fittings she hides a dark secret: she often slips away to her Uncle’s lab to practice the gruesome forensic sciences.
When her work on savagely murdered corpses sets her on the path of a serial killer, Audrey find herself searching for clues close to her own sheltered world.
The first time I read this book, it had just come out. I adored it right away. Years passed and I picked up the second and third books in the series – Hunting Prince Dracula and Escaping From Houdini. Yet enough time had passed that I felt the need to reread Stalking Jack the Ripper before I continued on with the series.
For some reason, I thought that each story followed a different main character as they solved some of the biggest mysteries of all time. Thankfully I read the synopsis of Hunting Prince Dracula and realized my mistake. I wasn’t ready to give up Miss Audrey Rose just yet. Now knowing that she remains the main character throughout the series, I look forward to reading more about her and the mayhem she surrounds herself with.
One of the things that I loved the most about this story is how Audrey Rose isn’t afraid to be herself. Knowing that society looks down on women in general – let alone one that’s intent on learning forensic sciences – I’m glad to see that she never let society break her spirit. Especially since it seemed quite intent to do so at times. Instead, Audrey Rose continues to be true to herself and is willing to face any consequences of her actions.
As someone who’s not the biggest fan of Historical Fiction novels, I’m glad that I love this world as much as I do. Victorian England is a time in history that I’ve always been fascinated by and I do love seeing a strong female lead in this time period. The fact that this strong female lead was trying to solve the crime of the century – one I’ve been intrigued by for years – was just an added bonus.
Maniscalco does an amazing job at setting up a vibrant world with extraordinary characters. Her characters feel real; their emotions and motivations clear from the very beginning. Even when things are happening behind the scenes to characters, it’s clear that things aren’t always as calm and clear cut as they might seem.
Add to the list the real period photos interspersed in the story, and this novel becomes a well rounded piece of media. I found the pictures to be a great way to situate myself in the world of this book, to get myself as close to Audrey Rose’s head space as possible. I’m not always the biggest fan of photos being thrown into a story at random times, but Maniscalco did an amazing job at placing the photos at the most opportune time.
If you’re interested in Young Adult Mysteries, I’d highly recommend checking this story out if you haven’t done so already. I truly believe that this is a strong first book to the series. Knowing that it was Maniscalco’s debut novel impresses me all the more.