Dear Audrey Rose,
I swear if you don’t stop unnecessarily endangering yourself, I will throw something. Get a hidden knife at the bottom of your cane and put on your thinking cap and go solve crime. But if you continue to use yourself as bait, you will die. I beg you, please chill your biscuit.
An Unprofessional Murder Advisor and Master of Hidden Cane Knives, April Lee
PLEASE NOTE: There are potential spoilers for the first three books, Stalking Jack the Ripper, Hunting Prince Dracula, Escaping From Houdini. Feel free to click on the titles to check out my full reviews!
Book: Capturing the Devil
Author: Kerri Maniscalco
Published September 10th 2019 by JIMMY Patterson
Format: physical book
Click to see trigger warnings
violence, death, poison, murder, kidnapping, dead bodies
Audrey Rose Wadsworth and Thomas Cresswell have landed in America, a bold, brash land unlike the genteel streets of London they knew. But like London, the city of Chicago hides its dark secrets well. When the two attend the spectacular World’s Fair, they find the once-in-a-lifetime event tainted with reports of missing people and unsolved murders.
Determined to help, Audrey Rose and Thomas begin their investigations, only to find themselves facing a serial killer unlike any they’ve heard of before. Identifying him is one thing, but capturing him—and getting dangerously lost in the infamous Murder Hotel he constructed as a terrifying torture device—is another.
Will Audrey Rose and Thomas see their last mystery to the end—together and in love—or will their fortunes finally run out when their most depraved adversary makes one final, devastating kill? (from Goodreads)
Bookish pets are show stealers. Especially pets with punny names. May I present to you, Sir Issac Mewton. The pun-tastic cat who tried to single-handedly (paw-ly??) save this book, but even he, in all of his furry glory, couldn’t go it.
I have a love-hate relationship with Audrey Rose. I admire her bravery, independence, and wit. I mean, Audrey Rose was the one who convinced me that the only proper response to being hit on is to casually mention that you butcher bodies for a living. Moments like these make me really admire Audrey Rose.
But on the other hand, her murder-solving strategy is perfectly summed up by…
“It’s a little reckless, but it’s also a good way to provoke him into action.”
YEAH!! AND A GOOD WAY TO DIE. Audrey Rose is so smart, she really is, but she lacks common sense sometimes. She has solved three other murders at this point, yet she still is convinced that using herself as bait is the only effective way to solve a murder.
Ma’am, can you slow your roll for a hot sec?? Let’s take a step back and consider all angles before playing cat and mouse with a serial killer. But NOOO we can’t have that, can we.
And don’t even get me started on the time where she gets a mysterious letter and thinks to herself you know what sounds like a bright idea, let’s burn evidence. Rule number one of crime solving: DON’T BURN THE EVIDENCE.
I like a bit of drama drizzled in with my murder, but only if it is done well. Capturing the Devil was very drama and relationship heavy. Which is fine, but if you are going to have drama take the focus, commit. Don’t make the first part of the book all about the relationship issues and them run away from it.
No, no, no. The first half of the book was all about Audrey Rose and Thomas’s relationship, but then they ran away from it, and besides a few random mentions and a letter, forget about it. It made the plot feel really choppy.
There was no balance. The beginning was very much relationship focuses, and then when it was convinent, they decided ohhh now might be a good time to solve that murder. I want that blend. And if you want to go drama heavy, fabulous, but don’t neglect the mystery until it is convenient.
Let’s talk about the mystery. Drawing the connection between the serial killer in this book (the Devil) and Jack the Ripper was really interesting. There were a lot of similarities in the case, so I thought Maniscalco’s comparison of the two was really clever.
They seriously just undid the reveal of the first book. It would be fine, expect the ground work feels really lacking. It felt like a bit of an afterthought. That or Audrey Rose and Thomas were just waaaay too quick to draw conclusions in book one.
The climax wasn’t my favorite of the series, but it was satisfying. Audrey Rose not only faced the Devil (serial killer version), but she also faced some of her own internal Devils. There were definitely some internal realizations going on, which allowed for some good growth.
Plus, the murder chamber is intense. The imagery is absolutely insane. Toss in some top tier mind games and some masks, and the reveal was downright creepy.
Capturing the Devil was a nice finish to the series. It features tremendous character growth, reappearance of old friends (and that overcooked grasshopper of a ringmaster, but we don’t talk about him), and a well-deserved happy ending. Be warned that it is a bit relationship centric, but it was a satisfying way to close of the series and to say goodbye to these beloved characters.
What are some of your favorite literary pets? Have you read Capturing the Devil? What did you think?