Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

September 16th, 2016 Kimberly Review 77 Comments

16th Sep
Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
Stalking Jack the Ripper
by Kerri Maniscalco
Series: Untitled Trilogy #1
Published by: Hachette
Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery
Source: BEA
Purchase: Amazon | Audible | B&N
Goodreads
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

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.

historical HORRIFIC MURDERMYSTERY thriller

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco is the first in an unnamed trilogy. I had the pleasure of meeting the author at BEA and obtaining a signed ARC. Stalking Jack the Ripper was an engaging, dark, twisted and clever historical mystery that takes place in Whitechapel in the late 19th century as a young woman, along with her Uncle and his apprentice work to catch Jack the Ripper.

“At times the darkness in his eyes terrified me more than the dead we butchered.”

Serial killers fascinate me, and Jack the Ripper is one of my favorites to explore. With so many theories and unanswered questions, this gruesome historical event lends itself well to fictional mysteries.

Stalking Jack the Ripper is marketed as a young adult historical mystery but I would emphases this is for the older end of readers in this age group. Mystery lovers over seventeen would enjoy this well-developed tale.

Superintendent Blackburn shook his head, his fair hair catching the light of the sun. “I’d inquire about the weather, but I’m sure you’d like to speak of other things, Miss Wadsworth.” He squinted toward the body, shielding his eyes with his hand. “Seems our boy gave us two more victims.”

While the author took some liberties with the Ripper historical timeline and added some of her own, she stayed true enough to the  crimes  gave authenticity to her fiction. As a reader, I quickly found myself immersed in the macabre atmosphere of this tale. I enjoyed the subtle humor and romance served as a side dish to the murder mysteries.

Despite my annoyance at the author’s continual reminder that Audrey was brilliant, our young protagonist, Audrey Rose Wadsworth, was indeed clever and brilliant. A young Watson in the making. Audrey’s Uncle is a professor and mortician who studies cadavers and at times aids law investigations. Audrey prefers sawdust at her feet and a scalpel in her hand to society’s norm of tea and chatter about perspective husbands. I found Audrey to be likeable, and admired her stubbornness and refusal to conform to society’s expectation of her.

“Not to mention, the subject matter was hardly appropriate for the dinner table. Discussing missing ovaries then asking him to pass the salt would be revolting for anyone, let alone a girl of my station”

Maniscalco brought nineteenth century London to life in vivid detail. We got a sense of not only the panic that the “Whitechapel Murderer,” dubbed the “Leather Apron” by the press but also received a glimpse into scientific advancements in the world of forensics. She brought opium dens to life, took us into the walls of Bedlam, and fed us deliciously gory accounts of the brutal murders. We even explore experiments made famous in Frankenstein. Laced throughout the book are period images that enhanced the tone of the story.

Without hesitation, I dragged the scalpel from one shoulder to the sternum, taking pains to push as deeply as I could. My brows raised a fraction before I schooled my face into an unreadable mask. Human flesh flayed easier than I’d anticipated. It wasn’t much different from cutting into a pork loin prior to its roasting, a thought that should have been more disturbing than it was.

Thomas, the young apprentice to Audrey’s Uncle reminded me of a young Sherlock Holmes. I admired his appreciation for Audrey’s skills at deduction and brazen drive to discover the identity of the Ripper. A truly modern thinking young man he encouraged Audrey and saw nothing wrong with her desires to explore forensics. The interaction between these two was delightful, laced in snark, and at times maddening. Whenever these two engaged it was a test of wits as they tangoed. It was quite fun to watch.

There was a subtle hint of romance that didn’t distract from the case, but offered a splendid diversion to the darker more gruesome aspects of the tale.I am looking forward to seeing how this relationship plays a role in the next book.

The mystery was engaging and well-developed allowing the reader to become invested in both the mystery and the characters. The author cleverly wove her story around historical facts lending an authentic feel to the case. While I had a hunch about who the killer was early into the story that proved to be correct, I delighted in working alongside our heroine and hero.

“The dead speak to those who listen. Be quieter than even them.”

Stalking the Jack the Ripper delivered a dark and twisted mystery while delivering characters we cannot help but admire from their brilliant minds to their quip thoughts. I will be curious to see what the next book in this trilogy brings.

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco was an engaging, dark, twisted mystery. Click To Tweet

About Kerri Maniscalco

Kerri Maniscalco

Kerri Maniscalco grew up in a semi-haunted house outside NYC where her fascination with gothic settings began. In her spare time she reads everything she can get her hands on, cooks all kinds of food with her family and friends, and drinks entirely too much tea while discussing life’s finer points with her cats. Stalking Jack the Ripper is her debut novel. It incorporates her love of forensic science and unsolved history, and is the first in a new series of gothic thrillers.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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About Kimberly

Kimberly is a coffee loving book addict who reads and listens to fictional stories in all genres. She’s a self-professed Whovian, as well as a Supernatural, and Sherlock Holmes junkie, She enjoys sharing books, tips, recipes and hosting the Sunday Post. The coffee is always on and she is ready to chat…

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77 Responses to “Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco”

  1. Greg

    This one does look a bit dark and gruesome but given the subject matter I guess it almost has to be. And it’s nice when an author can bring an historical setting alive like that. I’ve seen this one popping up and between the atmosphere, the mystery and the snark it sounds like a winner. Love the cover too.

    Greg recently posted: The Incident on the Bridge
  2. Maja (The Nocturnal Library)

    I always thought the Ripper mystery was endlessly fascinating. I love that this was done well, especially the setting and the atmosphere, which can pretty much make or break a book like this. Great review!

  3. Kim

    I loved this review! I liked how you added quotes in there too, really made it interesting to read.
    I have read a number of review for this book and I have to say that I am more than excited to get myself a copy 🙂
    Thanks for the review!

    Kim recently posted: Friday Finds #5 (16.09.16)
  4. Berls

    I almost got this one at BEA, but couldn’t because I was busy getting another book I wanted more… Maybe Heartless? Anyway, it sounds like I really do need to pick it up! Glad you enjoyed it (even with the constant reminder the MC was brilliant… That bugs me too).

    Berls recently posted: Do you agonize over emoticons?
    • kimbacaffeinate

      Not Heartless, because I have that as well..but I had a ticket, so maybe you were in line at the booth? It is very good, maybe on audio…I think it would be awesome to listen!

  5. Debbie Haupt

    this sounds really good but gah they shelved it in YA, yeah pretty heavy duty stuff for kids. Good call Kim and great review! I’m putting this on my list

  6. Rita

    Hmm, I don’t favor YA but this sounds like pretty dark and gritty subject matter, so just because the MC is a teen, it shouldn’t automatically be labeled a certain way. Funny, I’m currently on a historical fiction mystery binge, and all the books I’ve been reading concern some form of forensics, dissection, post-mortems, etc. but in a much, much lighter vein.

    Perhaps since I’m reading in this genre already I should read this one. Thanks for a good review that made me understand it all the better 🙂

  7. Melissa (Books and Things)

    Love the cover and this sounds amazing! I also get annoyed when you have to be constantly reminded that the heroine is intelligent. Ugh. However, I think I can deal with that given that she IS intelligent. 🙂 I also love the sound of the interaction of Audrey and Thomas. They sound like a couple I would enjoy. Yea, I do think I’ll like this one. Brilly review as always!

    Melissa (Books and Things) recently posted: Audiobook Review: Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews
  8. The Bibliophile Babe

    I really want to try this one! I totally agree how annoying it is when we’re constantly reminded abut how brilliant the heroine/hero is – if they’re that brilliant, I shouldn’t have to have that beaten into me!

    The Bibliophile Babe recently posted: Cover Lust, No. 39
  9. Jessica

    OOh nice! I was bummed that I missed this at BEA, but considering it was madness I’m not blaming myself too harshly! LOL! This one sounds awesome! I was always intrigued with the Jack the Ripper murders, so naturally my schools never taught me anything on it! LOL! Definitely cannot wait to read this one! Great review!

    Jessica recently posted: Follow Friday
  10. Emily Alfano

    I’ve been hearing nothing but great things about this one, so I can’t wait to get my hands on it. It’s funny though, because I’m not usually into historical fiction, but I really want to try this one!
    Sounds morbid, but good!
    Great review!

    Emily Alfano recently posted: Review: The Iron Queen
    • kimbacaffeinate

      A lot of folks who aren’t into historical, are drawn to ones that surround famous events, crimes etc. Jack the Ripper is certainly one that makes us all morbidly curious.

  11. Danielle Nolan

    There was a time when I was really fascinated with the Jack the Ripper case. You review has really piqued my interest. I may have to read this if I ever get through my pile. I really enjoyed your review!

  12. Connie

    What an awesome premise, I’ve always had a strange interest with Jack the Ripper stories, definitely need to pick this up at some stage!