Escaping from Houdini

Posted September 17, 2018 by shooting in Book Review / 23 Comments

Escaping from Houdini is the third book in the Stalking Jack the Ripper series by Kerri Maniscalco. While I didn’t love this one quite as much as the other two, I still really enjoyed it and I cannot wait for the fourth and final book.
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Aboard the RMS Etruria

Not long after the events of Hunting Prince Dracula, Audrey Rose Wadsworth and Thomas Cresswell have boarded a cruise ship headed toward New York in Escaping from Houdini. Unlike modern ships, however, those aboard RMS Etruria are not used to cruise entertainment but that’s exactly what they will be getting every night they sail.


The Moonlight Carnival is led by the fascinating Mephistopheles, who like the rest of his carnival compatriots, always wears a mask. While the carnival is full of fascinating acts – trapeze, stilt walkers, knife throwing – it is overshadowed by grisly murders that occur from the moment the ship sets off.

Houdini, You Say?


Escaping from Houdini does indeed feature Harry Houdini. I liked that he was a character in the book and readers get to see him start to perfect some of his death-defying escape acts as part of the Moonlight Carnival. It’s pretty obvious from the start that one of the carnival performers is probably the killer, especially since the bodies seem to be posed as tarot cards, or have tarot cards left on them. Obviously, this would include Houdini, and he definitely holds some secrets!

Ah, Young Love…

I’m not always the biggest fan of romance in books. I feel like it can overshadow the rest of the book if it’s not a romance-centric book. In Stalking Jack the Ripper and Hunting Prince Dracula, I loved that Audrey Rose and Thomas became closer in terms of their romantic relationship, but also as partners when it comes to detective and post-mortem work.

However, in Escaping from Houdini, I think the romantic aspect became a bit too much…and it wasn’t even with Audrey Rose and Thomas, which after two books, probably would have worked for me! No, Miss Audrey Rose finds herself pretending to fall for Mephistopheles to learn more about him and the carnival, but she starts to confuse fact from fiction and isn’t sure how she feels after awhile.

I can see how Mephistopheles could charm Audrey Rose, but I also got a bit frustrated by how easily swept along she could be sometimes…and that she didn’t trust in Thomas as much in this book. Part of it made sense (the book explains), but other times I just wanted the two of them to somehow communicate more! This is probably my biggest issue in the book, so overall, it was a really great novel.

So Much Death!

As for the actual mystery, I thought it was really well done. I obviously can’t speak for everyone, but I didn’t figure out who-done-it until it was revealed and I thought it all made sense and came together well. I liked the tarot card touch; it added a sense of mysticism to the whole ordeal.


Also, as the title says, there was so much death! This book doesn’t just have one or two bodies – murder definitely abounds on this cruise ship! It made it that more suspenseful because you never knew what would happen next! Plus, someone that Audrey loves ends up in the clutches of the killer and she has to make some big decisions to figure out how to get them back…alive and well.

Give Me Book Four

I just have to finish this post by saying that I am so ready for book four. Yes, yes, I know the third book is just coming out (tomorrow actually, so get your copy ASAP), but I’m very much curious to see how this series ends. And if you haven’t read Stalking Jack the Ripper and/or Hunting Prince Dracula, I hope you do soon! It’s a favorite series of mine!

23 responses to “Escaping from Houdini

  1. Kind of sad you didn’t think this was as good as the first two but I am still really excited to read it. I’ve loved this series so much so far and can’t believe it is almost over.

  2. Sounds like a really interesting kind of mystery and I love that it features Houdini! Magic and mystery kind of go well together, so it makes sense! I’ll have to look into the other ones since this is part of a series!

  3. YESSSS HOUDINI IS A CHARACTER HERE. *screeches happily* His acts are the entire reason why I WANT to read the book (I need to read the first and second book) and why I’m super fascinated with him (though I’ll never do them myself). I do hope the fourth book will be much better than this one since you didn’t enjoy this as much as the first one.

    Sophia @ Bookwyrming Thoughts recently posted: Weekly Wrap-Up: I’m Apparently 21 and Adulting?!?!?!
  4. This sounds like a really cool series. I love that you didn’t know who did it until it was revealed. I usually find the first book in the series to be the best, but I hope this series surprises you and the last book is really good too.

  5. Oh hey, look, that book I just mentioned I hadn’t read the first in the series but everybody loved and, gosh, I still feel left out. xD I obviously need better prioritization skills, since I’ve waited so long to read this. Oooh, okay, you had me at a character named Mephistopheles. Sign me up. I MUST read this ASAP. Great review! I’m even more excited about reading it now. XD

  6. Ah, I am so excited for this book! I feel like this series keeps getting better and better, and I’ve already put a hold on this one at my library so I can read it ASAP.

    I love carnival/circus themes in books and I’m so keen for that aspect in Escaping from Houdini. I was also wondering if Houdini would make an actual appearance in this book and I’m glad he does.

    It’s a shame about the love triangle, though. They’re so tiring 🙁 And I really love Audrey Rose and Thomas so much. Sigh. Hopefully they’ll get their happily ever after in book four.

    Glad you enjoyed this one, Lauren! And lovely review ^.^

  7. Jen

    Sometimes that happens with a series. I am glad you ultimately liked it though. I think this series should get added to my want to read series list for sure.

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