Escaping From Houdini made me want to stop procrastinating and do my math homework. In case y’all don’t know, I would offer my firstborn in exchange for never having to do math again in my life. But this book *angry hand movements* arrgggg
I am at a loss for words *as I write 700 some words* about how rawrrrr I’m feeling right now. After the 5 star master piece that was Hunting Prince Dracula, I had hopes. I had dreams. I was expecting greatness. But this? No. This is not what I wanted.
Seriously, what did I just read? Was it an insult the characters that I fell in love with across the series?? Why yes, yes it was. Did I want to slap Audrey Rose back to London? Why yes, yes I did.
Book: Escaping from Houdini
Author: Kerri Maniscalco
Published September 18th 2018 by JIMMY Patterson
Format: physical book
TW: Anxiety, Blood, Dead bodies, Death, Gore, Kidnapping, Gruesome Murder, PTSD (referenced), Torture, Violence
Audrey Rose Wadsworth and her partner-in-crime-investigation, Thomas Cresswell, are en route to New York to help solve another blood-soaked mystery. Embarking on a week-long voyage across the Atlantic on the opulent RMS Etruria, they’re delighted to discover a traveling troupe of circus performers, fortune tellers, and a certain charismatic young escape artist entertaining the first-class passengers nightly.
But then, privileged young women begin to go missing without explanation, and a series of brutal slayings shocks the entire ship. The disturbing influence of the Moonlight Carnival pervades the decks as the murders grow ever more freakish, with nowhere to escape except the unforgiving sea.
It’s up to Audrey Rose and Thomas to piece together the gruesome investigation as even more passengers die before reaching their destination. But with clues to the next victim pointing to someone she loves, can Audrey Rose unravel the mystery before the killer’s horrifying finale? (from Goodreads)
I will say, out of the series I do think that Escaping Houdini had the best climax. The drama of the knife throwing and the final reveal was shocking and everything I wanted to be. I do love a good knife throwing scene.
But getting to those final moments? It was painful.
The plot wasn’t bad, the suspense was wonderful, the writing was fantastic. So why exactly do I sound like a cranky cricket right now? The characters. Maniscalco spent the last two books lovely creating our dynamic duo. I just wanted them to have more delightful banter while solving crime and cutting open corpses. Is that too much to ask???
Apparently, yes, it is too much to ask. Because Escaping From Houdini just set flame to the amazing dynamic that was Wadsworth and Cresswell. And I am angry about it.
At the center of my rage is our dear friend and ringmaster, Mephistopheles. The guy was full of half truths and manipulation. Whatever, if you want to be a magician, have at it, but if your sole purpose in life is to make Thomas jealous, jump ship you conniving tortoise.
I’m mostly mad at the ringmaster, but also angry with Audrey Rose. Everyone kept telling her that Mephistopheles was full of shade, but she kept la de da skipping around doing her thing. Don’t make a deal with the devil and think everything is sunshine and rainbows. Girl, wake up.
There is nothing that will make me dislike a character more than meddling. Why does Audrey Rose think it is acceptable to meddle with Liza’s love life. Why, just why? Back off. The meddling, combined with her immaturity and recklessness during the entire book was so frustrating to read about. You preach about freedom and going against societal norms, yet when Liza wants to go her own path you interfere. What a hypocrite.
And the communication? It was terrible. All Audrey Rose had to do was communicate with Thomas, just a little bit, and so much of this drama would have been resolved. One open and honest conversation without schemes, hidden plans, or unnecessary secrets. One conversation, and so many problems would have been avoided.
If I could cleanse my mind of everything that happened on that ship, I would do it in a heartbeat. I am so pissed with Audrey Rose right now. Thomas Cresswell is a gift to humanity and she goes off and skippity jumps around with some masked man that she has only known for a week?? Girl, if you don’t want him I will take him.
There was absolutely no reason to create a love triangle. There really wasn’t. Mephistopheles did not need to be a love interest. Just no.
And the fact that Maniscalco thought she could slap a bandaid on the 400(ish) pages of damage she inflicted with the epilogue. HA! You are sorely mistaken. My eyes are burning and my soul is still damaged from reading this book. That was a very surface level “solution” (if you want to be generous and call it that).
Will I be reading the next book? Yes, yes I will be. Will my expectations be much lower? Yes. Yes they will be. If you are a fan of meddling in other people’s love lives and unnecessary love triangles, then this book is for you. If there are not some serious fixes in the next book I will start throwing things.
Have you read Escaping From Houdini? What did you think?