Title: Stalking Jack the Ripper (Stalking Jack the Ripper #1)
Author: Kerri Maniscalco
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 med student in me loves this book so much! Together with my favorite book elements such as bad-ass females, sarcastic yet highly intelligent male leads, dark humor, innuendos, Victorian-era London, and a lot of blood and gore, this book was such a ride from start to finish. I was able to clearly picture everything, especially whenever they were doing autopsies, because I have an anatomy lab class and we handle real cadavers. While they are not mutilated as described in the books, it helped me paint a clear picture of what was going on in the murder scenes and the lab.
I always adored the concept of mixing facts with fiction in books, and for the author to tackle on and spin her own version of the murders committed by the infamous Jack the Ripper, it was truly amazing. I loved how she kept most of the whole facts straight, but also laced it with a bit of fictional names to stir the story in her favor. I actually had to look up the entire history of Jack the Ripper, and I was so surprised at how the author used a lot of information already available and even did her own personal research. Two thumbs up for Kerri Maniscalco on that one! Just the whole idea of it, coupled with the very vivid and graphic descriptions and the few scary pictures were more than enough to give me chills and raise my goosebumps, but also make me want to keep reading it.
And the characters were simply wonderful. I love Audrey Rose so much, because she was true to herself and didn’t give a damn on what her family and society thinks of her chosen profession. And it never stopped her from doing something more for herself. I especially loved the parts where she stood up against her father’s overprotectiveness, and kept finding ways on how to help her Uncle in the Bedlam and solve the murders. I always did have a soft spot for strong-willed female leads who still adores being a girl and whatever girls like to do – and Audrey Rose fits the bill! How about Thomas Cresswell? His character reminds me so much of Will Herondale from The Infernal Devices and Connor Cobalt from the Addicted Series mixed together – and I love him! At first I didn’t like him, but as soon as he started putting himself in the picture, his interactions with Audrey Rose and her uncle, and his smarts were emerging, I just loved him already! I never doubted that he might be the serial killer, because everything just seemed wrong if connected to him. And not to mention the cat-and-dog fight going on between him and Audrey Rose, and how Thomas would poke her with his indecent words – it was hilarious! Their relationship reminds me so much of Rose Calloway and Connor Cobalt from the Addicted Series – if both of them were alive in Victorian London and were helping solve murder cases. It was just so freaking on point!
The plot twist! OH MY GOD THAT PLOT TWIST! I’m rarely surprised at plot twists anymore, since I can most likely predict it out around the middle of the book. But the plot twist here was so huge and totally not expected! Things were such a whirlwind from the middle of the book until the end – and it didn’t stop me from reading it until late at night. I already set my eyes on who might be Jack the Ripper is – but it wasn’t him! And the reason for the murders wasn’t something I also predicted out. So yes, this made me love the book even more!
If you’re a huge fan of gothic novels laced with adventure and a pair of intelligent characters, then this book is definitely for you! Please be careful of the very graphic details on the murders, because the author was so on-point to it to get the readers into the story more.
I’m currently starting the second book now, and I can’t wait to see what happens!