3.5 / 5 stars
Title: Stalking Jack the Ripper
Series: Stalking Jack the Ripper #1
Author: Kerri Maniscalco
Publisher: Jimmy Patterson (Little Brown)
Genre: YA Historical Fiction/Gothic Thriller
Release Date: 20th September 2016
Source: eARC provided by Fantastic Flying Book Club
~So…what’s it about?~
He’s the infamous killer no man has ever been able to find.
Now it’s a girl’s turn.
Groomed to be the perfect highborn Victorian young lady, Audrey Rose Wadsworth has a decidedly different plan for herself. After the loss of her beloved mother, she is determined to understand the nature of death and its workings. Trading in her embroidery needle for an autopsy scalpel, Audrey secretly apprentices in forensics. She soon gets drawn into the investigation of serial killer Jack the Ripper, but to her horror, the search for clues brings her far closer to her sheltered world than she ever thought possible.
~My Spoiler Free Thoughts~
I honestly have been anticipating this release for SOOOOOO long. There has been a heck of a lot of hype surrounding it, and being part of Kerri’s street team: The Knights of Whitechapel, has just added to my excitement over the past six months.
This was a fast-paced and captivating read, with murders happening left, right and centre. The very first chapter is creepy and morbid and pure perfection, and it drew me in straightaway. The writing seemed appropriate for the Victorian setting that it describes, and I found the descriptions of people and places to be clear and easy to follow.
The plot felt a little aimless at times; I was aware of the overarching plot to find Jack the Ripper, but I definitely felt there was a large focus on the main characters and their romance. Audrey Wadsworth is quite a sassy character, with rather feminist views for a character of that time. She isn’t afraid to speak her mind, and I found her to be an interesting character to follow around. Thomas Cresswell is sexy as hell, yes. But he’s also rather a pain in the butt, and I felt his snarkiness was a little OTT at times. I didn’t feel as attached to the characters as I was hoping, but I enjoyed the insight into their family backgrounds and interests.
As far as historical accuracy goes, I definitely felt immersed in Victorian London, and learnt some things (like the Necropolis Railway.. .wwwhhhaaaatttt!?). I enjoyed (and cringed at) the exploration into high society and proper behaviour and the limitations placed on women, and certainly enjoyed Audrey slamming their expectations into the blood-soaked sawdust beneath her feet.
Overall I did really enjoy this book, but I was expecting it to be far darker than it was (it is pretty dark though), and I sadly predicted the identity of Jack the Ripper. In saying that, it’s a great intro to gothic thrillers, and is a delightful debut for both Kerri Maniscalco and her publisher, Jimmy Patterson.