Tuesday, September 13, 2016

[Review] Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
Series: Untitled #1
Version: ARC Paperback
Rating: 4 stars 

Release Date: September 13th 2016

Goodreads Synopsis:
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.

Audrey Rose Wadsworth, instead of participating in teas and socials that are suited for a girl of her age, spends her time in far darker quarters, with a scalpel in hand and a dead body on the table. However as of late the dead she's been examining in her Uncle's laboratory have come back with gruesome wounds - throats slit and organs stolen. It's up to her and her Uncle's apprentice Thomas Cresswell to save the women of East End London from the killer known as Jack the Ripper.

I'm conflicted on my rating as I write this review - it's honestly either a 3.5 or a 4.

On one hand, the writing is great. The author clearly did her research when it came to forensic science and the terminology used. As someone who took a Forensic Science course in high school, I was interested in this book from the start. For me to read about its early beginnings in the 19th century made me think of the show Penny Dreadful. Complete with all the bloody bits.

Definitely pictured Audrey as Vanessa Ives
Can I just say that the bloody gruesome scenes interested me more than the romance? Does that sound weird? Well reading about discoveries of bodies with slashes from ear to ear or organs removed kept me on the edge of my seat. Kerri Maniscalco has a way of aptly describing the scene of the crime, so I definitely felt like I was in a Law and Order type of show. It was fun (and scary!) to picture.

Our heroine, Audrey Rose, is also a forward thinker for the time period. I liked that her interests were diverse. While she did love forensics, she also enjoyed gossiping and makeup with her cousin, Liza.

My reflection shown back, lit almost as if the heavens themselves were shining down on me. Dark strands of hair were piled atop my head, my eyes more mysterious somehow with the darker liner, and my lips were the bright crimson of freshly spilled blood. I was beautiful and dangerous at once. A delicate rose with thorns.
I was precisely who I wanted to be. 

She also stands up and defies the social norms to be independent.

"I'd rather be a lowly wretch on the streets than live in a house full of cages. Do not lecture me on propriety when it's a virtue you so grossly lack." 

Thomas Cresswell, her partner-in-crime, teases her incessantly with his know-it-all attitude. Normally I would enjoy the banter between opposites who attract. But this time it felt a little forced, so I didn't enjoy it as much as I usually would. Audrey also makes frequent references to her attraction to him and the insta-love was kind of off-putting, in the midst of all the murders.

The whodunnit was kind of predictable, but nevertheless, the story itself was enjoyable. I'm looking forward to reading more books in the series!  

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