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.
I had heard amazing things about Kerri Maniscalco’s debut, Stalking Jack the Ripper and I have to say that they were all true! The “mystery” of Jack the Ripper was always one that intrigued me. Sadly, school never thought it good enough to teach us during lessons, obviously, other historical events were more important for us to learn and I can honestly say, I don’t really remember much of them! LOL! Jack the Ripper was one of the earliest serial killers, if I do so recall. The little bits that I know about Jack likely came from movies, TV shows and the occasional book that decided to throw him in as well. It’s really a fascinating and brutal course of events to learn about really and while not everything in this story is 100% accurate, a lot of what Kerri divulges in does have some credence.
Moving on…Audrey Rose is not your typical girl. Yes, even in 1888 our teenaged heroines were defying social norms. At least Audrey Rose was. Ever since her mother died five years ago, she’s oddly been fascinating with death. Not in the creepy way, but more in the medical curiosity way and wondering how/why people die. And ironically, her uncle is a medical forensic specialist. He studies the dead bodies and determines how they die. Audrey Rose’s father doesn’t approve of her interests, so naturally, Audrey Rose must do all this in secret.
It’s while apprenticing with her uncle that Audrey Rose meets Thomas Creswell, her uncle’s other apprentice. And oh my god, Thomas is a riot! He comes off as a sort of cocky snothead at first, but it’s not long before he and Audrey Rose are forming witty banter with one another. And seriously this is delightful! I love their exchange of repertoire, it’s so snappy and quick witted. I’m one of those people who would think of an awesome comeback to a barb shot at me…thirty minutes later or so! So the fact that these two are just on par with the banter is so awesome! I loved it!
The storyline itself was also very, very fascinating. I’m not a big history buff, but there are those moments in history that I found rather intriguing! And Jack the Ripper is definitely one of them! I really liked how despite taking a few creative liberties, Kerri really stuck to true facts of the events. She mentions in an afterword what exactly she had to change and creative liberties that had to be taken, but I wouldn’t have known any of that really had I not read the afterword. As I said, I don’t have a vast knowledge of the Jack the Ripper case much to my dismay. But again, I do love learning about it as authors have it pop up in their books! I think the other Jack the Ripper book I read was Maureen Johnson’s The Name of the Star, but let’s get back to Kerri’s book here!
The mystery to this one was done rather well. We’re basically seeing the same things the real Jack the Ripper did all those years ago, done slightly differently of course in some respects. I started following along with Audrey Rose and Thomas as they try to figure out the whodunit. After all, if I recall correctly, we still don’t know who Jack the Ripper truly was! Unless I somehow missed that tidbit, which totally possible! When it’s Audrey Rose’s uncle who is accused and arrested, she and Thomas have to work twice as fast and yes, together to try to prove his innocence. I thought it was pretty clear that her uncle was innocent, so I started looking for our real (or Kerri’s version) killer. And started developing theories based on the evidence and clues.
I have to say that I didn’t really see the whodunit coming. And I kind of have issues with that. I felt like when the reveal came there wasn’t much fodder to it. Usually I can go back and see the clues that were already pointing to the perpetrator, but I felt like when we had that moment happen here, there just wasn’t enough clues to really point me in the right direction. I will say that I started to suspect our whodunit person mostly because Audrey Rose started to suspect my first suspect and I thought, nope. Gotta find someone else! Because my first guess is hardly ever right! LOL.
Truthfully, I think that might have been my only issue with this book. When it comes to murder mysteries I like to be able to see evidence that points me to the whodunit person. And I felt like it was a little shaky here and not quite up to the standards I usually hold for these kinds of situations, but that’s likely just me.
Other than that, I really really loved this one! It was so wonderfully written in all other respects. It was engaging and had got more than a few laughs out of me! And while it wasn’t heavy on the romance, you can definitely see something building between Audrey Rose and Thomas. All in all, Stalking Jack the Ripper was quite the mysterious read and I enjoyed it full heartedly! So excited to here that there will be more books set in this world! Hopefully surrounding our favorite duo as they try to solve other murders. This should prove to be an intriguing and mystifying series I think!
Overall Rating 4/5 stars