Title: Stalking Jack the Ripper
Author: Kerri Maniscalco
Genre: Historical Fiction/Thriller/Mystery
My Rating: 5/5 stars
In a time when women were only supposed to be interested in social gatherings, potential suitors and stitching, Audrey Rose was interested in forensic medicine. That is, studying the remains of bodies to determine cause of death.
Audrey studies under her uncle, which she’s grateful for, but she longs to learn more and is forced to keep her apprenticeship a secret from her father. Ever since her mother’s death, her father has been even more protective of Audrey, and he would be mortified to discover how she truly spends her time.
However, a serial killer is on the loose now, and after some investigation, it appears the case hits closer to home than Audrey ever anticipated.
I positively adored this. I’ve always loved mysteries and thrillers, and this books was the perfect blend of those two things, plus some romance and humor thrown into the mix. This story was complete with a strong female lead, an equally intelligent, charming, sometimes pompous side character, and an intriguing string of murders that keep you guessing throughout.
Audrey Rose was amazing. I typically have a difficult time rooting for YA female leads because they tend to irritate me, but Audrey was smart, clever, quick-witted and could think for herself in a time period where women were encouraged not to. It was easy for me to like her, and there was never a time when my feelings for her wavered.
Our secondary character, Thomas, started off as a jerk, frankly. He’s observant, smart, good looking, and he knows it. Normally, this quality in a character drives me insane, but in Thomas, it was almost a defense mechanism for him: he turned off his emotions and played the part of the devil’s advocate so he didn’t have to open himself up. However, he made it clear from the very beginning that he had feelings for Audrey.
Thomas was complex and interesting and incredibly entertaining to read. His and Audrey’s banter was so much fun, and it was easy to see the chemistry and connection between the two. There was no instalove here: some obvious attraction at the very beginning, with feelings that slowly grew throughout the book. Thomas is amazing and I ship them for the rest of my life.
As for the ending, it was definitely a shock. Technically, I guessed who Jack the Ripper was from about page 50; however, I definitely doubted myself plenty, and I wouldn’t have been surprised had it been anyone else. There was some very subtle evidence pointing toward this person, and it turned out I was right. And while I did guess who Jack was, I never could have guessed his motive.
I’ve said this before and I stick by it: it doesn’t matter if I guess the ending to a story as long as the delivery is still good. In the book One of Us is Lying by Karen M McManus, the author’s reveal of the killer was lame and disappointed me quite a bit. In Stalking Jack the Ripper, the ending still kept me tense and on the edge of my seat, which is exactly what a thriller is supposed to do.
I have all the good things to say about this read. Stalking Jack the Ripper was so much fun, and my first 5 star read in 2018! I will admit, I didn’t think it would come so early in the year, but I hope this is a sign of even better things to come.