Monday, October 3, 2016

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

Stalking Jack the Ripper
by Kerri Maniscalco
Read: September 15 - 18, 2016
Published: September 20, 2016 by Jimmy Patterson
Source: EW - Thank you Hachette!
Category: YA, historical fiction, mystery, murder, Jack the Ripper
Series: book 1 of ?
Find: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Indiebound 

Book Description: 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.

This book wasn't really on my radar at all until I started seeing rave reviews about it, so when I decided to pick it up, I thought I'd love it too. But sadly, this book didn't click with me as much as I'd hoped.

Some of the issues I had with the story: 

1) I do find the Jack the Ripper history to be gruesome and fascinating, and I love how historical fiction can make the past come to life in a way that allows readers to experience it on a more personal level. But for some reason, with this book, I found myself more interested in going online to read the historical facts about the case than reading about this fictionalized version of events. 

2) Then there were the characters. I never felt like I got a firm handle on Audrey Rose. She was fighting convention and determined to solve the case in some scenes, and then cowering from her father and saying she'll do what he says in others. I get that he was an authority figure, but everything she said/did didn't read as consistent to me. Then Audrey Rose was constantly going on about how she could be both fierce/good at forensics, and into fashion/looking nice. I LOVE this perspective. I totally agree that girls can love ball gowns, and be strong + enjoy getting their hands dirty. I'm all for it! But instead of showing us this about herself, Audrey Rose talked about it over and over again to the point that it was extremely repetitive and heavy handed. Of course this parallels how the book turns out, but it was way over done for me. 

3) Thomas is another one of Audrey Rose's Uncle's forensic students and her love interest. I really loved their banter with each other, and came to like them as a couple. I'm also always thrilled when a book doesn't have a love triangle, so YAY to that! However, I wasn't expecting this to be another Sherlock/Watson retelling and Thomas/Audrey Rose definitely seem to be types of those respective characters. This is certainly my own expectations getting in the way, and I love Sherlock! But I was hoping for a different character dynamic in this 19th century mystery series. I also didn't find Thomas and Audrey Rose's romance to be as swoony as everyone was promising. 

4) I wasn't moved by the way everything was brought together in the end of this story. I wasn't surprised by the identity of Jack, and I found some of the details at the end to be far fetched and hard to put into my understanding of these historical events. I also have several questions about elements that seemed to have been left unanswered. 

Although Stalking Jack the Ripper wasn't quite the hit I was hoping to read, I still found it to be a quick and addicting story. I like that this series is supposed to be more episodic going forward. I'm a fan of many past mystery series that do this, and I
 am curious enough to find out more about the sequel, though I'm not sure yet whether or not I'll be reading it. 

Love Triangle Factor: None
Cliffhanger Scale: Low - some setup for the next installment but this one ends solidly.


  1. I read the rave reviews too and am about to pick this up from the library. Will be curious to see where I come out!
    Jen @ YA Romantics

  2. This is an excellent introduction to historical events that shaped the forensic sciences. The author’s note at the end outlines some of the actual historical events, and reproductions of photographs from the time period as well as Jack the Ripper’s letters lend authenticity to the story. Visit website to get more info.

  3. Okay phew, I'm glad to see that there is no love triangle or potential, in this book. I was slightly worried about that, for some reason. I think this is book one of a trilogy? Which is why I'll wait until the last book publishes, to binge-read the series. I think I'd enjoy the series but I really, really hate waiting (who doesn't). :D

    Excellent review, Lauren!

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

  4. Aw, I'm sorry you had a bunch of issues with this book sweetie :\ Doesn't sound like a very good book, hih. Though I have also seen many love it. Sigh. I just think it looks pretty; but won't ever read it :) I'm sorry it wasn't good like you had hoped. Thank you for sharing. <3

  5. I read your other Jack the Ripper blog this is awesome introduction and your other too. I hope you post more.


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