I have a theory. When in doubt, start with a line from Shakespeare. I have yet to read a book opening with a line from Shakespeare that I haven’t liked (key word is yet…) Maybe I’m just a sucker for Shakespeare, maybe I like the ~drama~ it adds, or maybe all the lyrics from Something Rotten has permanently seeped into my mind. Either way it set the mood for this book really well.
“It will have blood; they say, blood will have blood.”-Macbeth, Act 3, Scene 4 William Shakespeare
Book: Stalking Jack the Ripper
Author: Kerri Maniscalco
Published September 20th 2016 by Jimmy Patterson
TW: Autopsies, death, dead bodies, drug abuse, imprisonment, injury, medical descriptions, murder, organ transplants, sexism, smoking, trauma
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. (from Goodreads)
I struggled with Audrey Rose. She gave off minor I’m-not-like-other-girls vibes. At first I was like it’s just because of the times, ya know, historical social standards and all. But after the bizzion-th time the phrase “[insert any adjective] kind of girl” was uttered, I decided she did in fact give off I’m-not-like-other-girls vibes.
Thomas and Audrey Rose are both awful detectives. They think they are so clever and then miss major details. Oh, that thing that just smacked in the forehead, yeah that’s a clue. You’re just going to ignore it… oh ok. You do you.
Forensic scientists? Fine. Medical examiners? Sure. Detectives?? Sorry, but no. They were so clueless. Right away they latched on to one theory and then they refused to consider other possibilities.
The ending felt very anticlimactic. I wanted more drama. The basement scene was all too short. Audrey Rose spent far too much time observing pickled organs and not enough time facing Jack. I don’t know, I feel like that moment could have been drawn out more. More angst, more drama. Throw something, yell into the abyss, I don’t know, but I wanted something.
Maybe it felt lacking in drama because I called the murder at page 60. Being able to call the murder is the absolute worst and the best feeling all rolled into a giant yarn of emotions.
How, you ask? My spidey sense starting tingling when…
(a) Thou who shall not be named had relation to a lot of the victims, (b) Gloves, and (c) chats with Audrey Rose
Being able to figure it out was a touch disappointing, but I still found myself being intrigued with the story. I became invested in the characters and wanted to know what their stories held.
I mean, this book retold the Jack the Ripper Murders, one of the most famous unsolved murder mysteries like ever. The amount of research and historical accuracy that went into this… holy guacamole. Obviously there were some creative liberties taken, but I am just in awe of the story that Maniscalco was able to weave between fact and fiction. And I didn’t realize how much of the story borders on truth until I got to the author’s note. Names, dates, specific details are all factual, with some tweaks. I kind of thought it was all a fictional tale spun off of the idea of Jack the Ripper, but no, Stalking Jack the Ripper tried to stay as factual as possible. I’m really impressed by the way this book stuck to the facts when possible.
But what took the cake was the prose. The descriptions of the dead bodies… *jaw drops* They were terrifyingly descriptive and I could practically see the blood oozing out of the pages. The way the murders were described with grace and gruesome detail was really impressive. Props for that fine word craft.
Some of my favorite quotes:
“Roses have both petals and thorns, my dark flower. You needn’t believe something weak because it appears delicate. Show the world your bravery.”
“Those who deserve respect are given it freely. If one must demand such a thing, he’ll never truly command it.”
Like, damn. Pop off with the profound murder quotes.
Jack the Ripper’s motive was hardcore in every way possible. I had not doubt in my mind that the murderer’s mental state and motive were full blown wackadoodle.
But Audrey Rose doesn’t seem to see how psychopathic the psychopath is. The amount of times when Audrey Rose just wandered into the streets under the belief that Jack the Ripper wouldn’t kill her because they might care about her is ridiculous. If you don’t get back inside you are going to get mauled to death because THERE IS A SERIAL KILLER ON THE LOOSE.
I mean, when she found out who Jack the Ripper is, her first reaction was oh, let’s me talk some sense into them. Girl, there is no fixing serial killers. Sit down. Chuck a jar of pickled eye juice at him, execute some fancy kick, but whatever you do don’t sit down for a chat. You’re confronting a murderer, not going to afternoon tea. At the very least, grab the nearest sharpest object and run for your life. A touch of common sense can go a long way.
I liked this book. The storytelling was fantastic, and my enjoyment of the book was not fully hindered by predicting the ending. I hope to see some more character development in the next book and maybe some more development of the side characters as well. I am super excited to grab the next book!
Have you read Stalking Jack the Ripper? What did you think??