Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Stalking Jack The Ripper by Kerri Maniscalo

Stalking Jack The Ripper by Kerri Maniscalo
Release Date - September 20, 2016
Publisher Website - Hachette/Little Brown
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 336 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received from publisher for an honest review**

Here is the 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.
There is something about the Jack The Ripper case that draws people's interest all these years later. Perhaps it is simply us seeking to know the unknown. Solve what appears to unsolvable. It is a hook of sorts, and as a result we see books, movies, and TV shows inspired by the grisly case pop up again and again. Stalking Jack The Ripper may have the infamous case at its centre, but it has more to offer than just a splashy hook.

The setting of this novel pulses through each page. Victorian era England is captured through the vivid descriptions. The tone is set with foggy alleyways and darkened rooms. It is the idea setting for a mystery and Kerri Maniscalo uses it to her full advantage. It is easy to picture the crime scenes, and the other locations within the novel simply because of the way it is written and the care given to ensuring this world was as darkly enthralling as possible.

If the tone is pitch perfect, the characters are delicious icing on an already well constructed cake. They are the pulse of the novel, and what, I feel, people won't soon forget after they have finished. Audrey Rose, in particular, stands out. She will instantly be a new girl crush for many readers. She's progressive for her time, especially wanting to have a job of her own, be educated, and especially her interest in forensic medicine. She has very little patience for people telling her what to do or how to act. This is especially true when it comes to the men in her life. She, as her mother would say, is a 'delicate rose with thorns' and you cannot help but love her for it. She pushes for what she wants, and isn't afraid to scandalize by breaking societal norms. She wears pants instead of skirts when it suits her, and sneaks around at night. The author, however, allows her weaknesses, and a love for things that are considered 'girly' like makeup and pretty dresses. She is this wonderful mix of passion, faults, drive, and intelligence. It made her seem very human. I anticipate many will love her for both her strong opinions, and vulnerability.

The romance in this novel is filled with witty banter, a roguish scoundrel, excruciating sexual tension where you just want to force them to kiss already, and enough scandalous moments (at least for this time period) to add a little something extra to it. It will be nearly impossible to not become invested in this ship if you're a fan of razor sharp banter, and couples who push each others buttons.

Plenty of research went into the mystery aspect of this novel. People will instantly recognize well known elements from the Jack The Ripper case. It is evident that care was taken to ensure that she remained as true as possible to the events that happened, while still crafting her own vision. The Jack The Ripper case weaves seamlessly into the story being told, but is not the whole story. This is really the story of a girl who is forging her own way. She just happens to be solving a crime as she does it.

A entertaining mystery that unravels at just the speed. Filled with romance, danger, action, and a heroine who wants to leave her own mark on the world in her own way, Stalking Jack The Ripper is a perfect Halloween season read that will have you breathlessly awaiting the next case Audrey Rose gets mixed up in. 

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