Published by Jimmy Patterson on September 20th 2016
Source: Author Review Copy
Genres: Historical, Mystery, Young Adult, Romance
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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.
Look out Sherlock Holmes, because you’re not the only detective in town. Stalking Jack the Ripper introduces Audrey Rose, who is probably one of my favorite heroines up to date. One of my favorite things about historical fiction is reading about characters that goes against society’s conventions, and Audrey Rose fits that description to a T. Despite her father’s protests, she visits her uncle’s laboratory and dissects cadavers and inspects blood stains in the name of practicing forensics science. But while this is happening, a killer is on the loose on the streets of London, and she intends to get to the bottom of it.
Audrey Rose is a type of no-nonsense girl who is curious and always willing to learn new things. This curiosity is great for investigations especially. She practices with her uncle (who’s a bit mad, or just really obsessed with corpses), learning things that no daughter of a lord should be learning. The morbid and intriguing pictures that are featured in the beginning of each chapter are a welcome, atmospheric addition to the book that continues to chill readers to the bones. I loved seeing her cut open a corpse, or make theories on how someone was killed. Audrey Rose’s passion is so bright and easy to see. I also enjoy the little scathing remarks she makes against society’s expectations of females.
‘Where in a medical dictionary does it say a woman cannot handle such things? What is a man’s soul made of that a woman’s is not?’ I teased. ‘I had no idea my innards were composed of cotton and kittens, while yours were filled with steel and steam-driven parts.’
We also get introduced to a student of Audrey Rose’s uncle named Thomas, who has striking similarities to Sherlock (to me, anyways). He’s super eccentric and intelligent and can I just say ADORABLE? Instead of being driven away by Audrey Rose’s quirks and wit, he’s attracted to her because of it. Thomas is the type of clever that knows how clever he is and is awkward emotionally because of it. He also has his own reasons for studying under Audrey Rose’s uncle, but their chemistry is pretty flammable. In a dark setting filled with corpses and organs, their attraction sets off sparks that consumes the shadows of the dead.
‘She’s lovely because she’s my sister, Audrey Rose. I’m referring to the superior genes we have in common. My heart belongs only to you.’
Soon enough, Thomas and Rose find themselves looking at the trail that the notorious killer Jack the Ripper left behind. Maniscalco does a fantastic job in incorporating actual historical elements into the plot. They come together seamlessly as the characters follow the killers’ clues. Although I guessed at the actual culprit, the explanation is solid and while the killer was definitely not justified, you can clearly see the hints of madness that is so present in the evidence that remain in history. The author weaves a gripping combination of mystery and history together, along with determined characters, that’ll keep readers flipping the pages.
Check out my post for the blog tour of Stalking Jack the Ripper to download these wallpapers!
If you’re looking for a historical thriller with a kickass heroine who doesn’t adhere to the norm, then definitely pick this book up. Audrey Rose was just so refreshing to read about. I mean, unconventional heroines are really quite common in historical YA, but one that is sufficient in stitching up dead bodies? That’s a whole ‘nother story. The mystery is sure to delight any reader, as well as the tie-ins it has with actual history, and the Jack the Ripper case. I also love how clear-cut the romance was too. Just two eccentric individuals drawn to each other’s personalities and intelligence, without any unnecessary drama. I’m definitely looking forward to the upcoming sequels of this story.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Thank you Jimmy Patterson’s books for the review copy!