Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
Review by Lauren
source: copy from BEA16; all opinions are my own
Official Summary: 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.
Review: Stalking Jack the Ripper was one of the books I KNEW I needed to get when I attended BEA 16, so I was really excited to get an ARC as well as meet the fantastic author, Kerri Maniscalco, who signed my copy. But you’re here to know what I thought about the actual novel, right? Well, it’s amazing. Seriously. I find the Jack the Ripper murders to be fascinating, especially because they were so horrific and yet nobody has officially been named as “Jack.” Stalking Jack the Ripper takes a lot from actual history and creates a new fictional story where a young girl fascinated by science and studying under her uncle becomes entangled in the murders, desperate to know the true culprit.
Audrey Rose Wadsworth is an intelligent and fierce character. She loves science and despite being a young woman in Victorian times, she is determined to learn as much as she can so that she may help people in the future, especially since she lost her own mother to illness. It’s through her uncle that she meets Thomas, who is an apprentice under him as well. Thomas is a bit insufferable at times, but you can’t help but love him right away. He’s clearly attracted to Audrey, though he loves to mess with her all the same. He’s a big of a young Sherlock, often deducing things about people correctly by simply examining them and putting one and one together. I loved that he didn’t care that Audrey was interested in science. He worried about her and wanted to keep her safe, but he also didn’t coddle her or keep her away from the gruesome details of the Ripper murders.
Along with Thomas and Audrey’s uncle, we get Audrey’s father who is lost in grief over losing his wife, and Audrey’s brother, who is desperate for Audrey to be happy but also wants to keep her safe. All the characters just made up the world that Maniscalco “created.” I put it in quotes because this isn’t fantastic. These are real places and these murders did occur, though the author obviously takes artistic liberties, especially when naming the murderer, since they have not actually been solved. I loved the ending, and it was definitely not what I expected, so kudos for that!
I need more now!