Presented by James Patterson's new children's imprint, this deliciously creepy horror novel has a storyline inspired by the Ripper murders and an unexpected, blood-chilling conclusion... 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. The story's shocking twists and turns, augmented with real, sinister period photos, will make this dazzling debut from author Kerri Maniscalco impossible to forget.
Stalking Jack the RipperFeatured
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
I don't often read horror or thrillers since my stomach goes weak whenever there is blood and gore involved, but I'm sure glad I gave this book a chance because AMAZING doesn't even begin to cover it. Like the characters, I learned to push my feelings over blood aside and grow cold and calculated trying to solve the cases of Jack the Ripper. I was going back and forth over my suspect list, ever growing as each chapter moved on. I started to strongly suspect a certain character by 50% into the story, yet the author does a great job at keeping you second-guessing until the very end. I really liked that.
The main character, Audrey Rose Wadsworth, is a force to be reckoned with. Her personality is admirable and her ideas plus her determination to study the field she loves is pretty kick-ass. Despite living in a society that questions the value of women in fields outside hosting tea parties and being wives, she pushes on by pursuing a career in forensic studies under her uncle's supervision while not renouncing to her "girly" manners. She's an early version of the modern women and does a great job. I loved her!
As a thriller, I believed Stalking Jack the Ripper would only be a dark, bloody read, but as it turns out, it was also full of dark humor. It kept the heaviness from being too much, and I often found myself laughing quite loud at night. The twisted humor often came from the dashing Thomas Cresswell who is also interested in forensic studies. He is like a young adult version of Sherlock Holmes, including sharp mind and attention to details. He made me swoon like no other character and also pray for him to not be the ripper. I'm sure many readers will come to fancy him like me!
To put it simply, Stalking Jack the Reader is bloody brilliant (pun intended). I fear my words won't ever do justice to this fascinating take on one of the world's most known serial killers, but I must insist on readers to pick it up once it comes out. This debut novel by Kerri Maniscalco will set new standards to YA Thrillers, trust me. It's dark and horrifying, historically accurate (with twists from the author), and offers the intriguing experience through the eyes of a young girl who defies the norms of 1888 London. Can't wait for the next book in the series (because yes, it's a series!!!!).
STALKING JACK THE RIPPER by Kerri Maniscalco is an exciting and different twist on the traditional Jack the Ripper tale. Audrey Rose, the heroine, is not your traditional highborn Victorian lady. While her peers are learning how to run their future homes and trading gossip, Audrey Rose is performing autopsies with her uncle and sneaking into medical school classes dressed as a boy. It’s here she meets Thomas, an equally driven and incredibly frustrating and overly confident man who gives Audrey Rose a run for her money. But soon they find themselves working as partners not only to find Jack the Ripper but also to exonerate her uncle from prison.
All of Maniscalco’s characters are deeply flawed but also incredibly likeable, even down to supporting characters you only meet for a few pages. I especially enjoyed Audrey Rose’s cousin who comes to visit for a few weeks – she’s quick witted and kind and Audrey Rose is able to see the good in her even if they are incredibly different and choose different life paths.
Maniscalco is obviously a gifted writer. Even when the story slowed down, she still is able to draw you in with her witty prose. She did an incredible job creating a perfect atmosphere of creepy Victorian London.
Be warned, STALKING JACK THE RIPPER is definitely a dark tale involving incredibly detailed descriptions of murders. It’s not for the faint of heart but if you can hold on until the end, you’ll be rewarded with a charming ending.
What Left Me Wanting More:
While STALKING JACK THE RIPPER is incredibly interesting, it’s also probably five chapters too long. It definitely slows down in parts and it can feel like you’ll never really start moving again but when it does, it moves at rapid speed.
While I really liked both Audrey and Thomas as individual characters, I thought their romance was a little awkward. That could have been a result of a romance set in the Victorian era where dating had an entirely different culture but overall I felt it lacked a little luster.
STALKING JACK THE RIPPER is an exciting story, even when it falls short and feels too long. Audrey Rose and Thomas are characters you’ll love to follow even if you’re following them around London chasing a murderer.