I don’t typically read thrillers or horror. I steer clear of crime books too. I want to be taken on an adventure and forget the real problems of the world when I pick up a book to read. That being said, why would I pick up a historical fiction about Jack the Ripper? Well that’s kind of a redundant question for me. I’m obsessed with Jack the Ripper. His killing spree has always fascinated me, and I devour anything I can get my hands on about him and that time period. Hence the reason I picked up Kerri Maniscalco‘s book. And boy am I glad I did!
Stalking Jack the Ripper is a fictionalized version of the real story following Audrey Rose Wadsworth as she helps her uncle, a forensic physician, and his apprentice, the enigmatic Thomas Cresswell. Audrey Rose is seventeen when the book opens, and from the first line I knew I’d love her. She is working in secret with her uncle. Her father heavily disapproves of his work and has forbidden Audrey Rose from doing the same. It is unladylike and not proper. However Audrey Rose could care less what her father thinks. She is fascinated by the science behind her uncle’s work, and if it means saving a life, she won’t stop doing it.
Thomas Cresswell is an enigma. His character reminds me a lot of Sherlock Holmes. He focuses on science and removes emotion from the equation when he is working on a case. Instead he focuses on the details, details most would miss. Thomas is abrasive and crass at times, putting off Audrey Rose, but at others his intuitive nature grows on her. She begins relying on him, and I’m not gonna lie I ship them hard!
While the plot of this story is focused on the murders in Whitechapel, it also focuses on Audrey Rose’s home life. Losing her mother five years prior has left her family in a state of mourning and disarray. Her father has turned to drugs, her brother is starting to crack under the stress, and Audrey Rose continues to pull away and focus all her energies into science and learning whatever her uncle is willing to teach. The mystery surrounding the Ripper case and Audrey Rose’s personal life intertwine making for a compelling read. I really couldn’t (and didn’t want to) sit the book down for any reason. I wanted to keep reading and find out as much as I could.
What I love most about this story is the foreshadowing. If you are clever, you may figure out and solve the crime before the end of the book. But you’d best be Sherlock Holmes clever! When everything is revealed, it was an ah-ha moment for me. It all comes together beautifully. It’s brilliant!
Overall I loved Stalking Jack the Ripper. The author takes liberties with the history to fit the story, but it isn’t distracting and unless you are very familiar with the original case, I don’t think it is noticeable. I love the historical aspects of the book. I felt like I was really there in late 1880s London and I was the one stalking the Ripper. Seriously y’all, if you enjoy a fast-paced, clever thriller, I highly recommend you put this on your TBR asap!
*This review first appeared on Mom with a Reading Problem. To see it and other reviews, visit https://www.momwithareadingproblem.com