Stalking Jack the Ripper: A Gritty Take with a Dash of Romance

4.5/5 Stars

Author: Kerri Maniscalco

Publisher/Imprint: Jimmy Patterson Books (Little, Brown)

Edition: Hardcover, 326 Pages

Publication Date: September 20, 2016

A Spine that Shines? Quite Well!

Death was not prejudiced by mortal things such as station or gender. It came for kings and queens and prostitutes alike, often leaving the living with regrets.

Audrey Rose, Stalking Jack the Ripper

Initial Thoughts

Ripper TrayI finished reading Stalking Jack the Ripper today, and I really enjoyed it! But be warned! The content of this book does include descriptions of mutilated bodies during forensic examination. If you pick up a book with this title, you’d probably expect it since the nature of The Ripper’s crimes is pretty horrific.

There is much to appreciate about this book:

  • The lead female character, Audrey Rose Wadsworth, is introduced as she is cutting open a cadaver. When a novel opens like that, you know it’s going to offer something unique.
  • The author certainly did her research and it shows, contributing to the authenticity of the novel’s story.
  • The Victorian-era setting is historical and atmospheric. The overall setting is done very well.
  • Forensic science is such a fascinating topic, and the Jack the Ripper case succeeds in being terribly creepy.
  • The extra photographs really enhance the creepy mood of the story.
  • Audrey Rose must discover many family secrets in addition to solving the case, adding to the suspense.

Mother used to say, ‘Roses have both petals and thorns, my dark flower. You needn’t believe something weak because it appears delicate. Show the world your bravery.’

Audrey Rose, Stalking Jack the Ripper

Characters & Romance

Ripper LanternHere is a brief overview of the two main characters.

  • Audrey Rose Wadsworth is the daughter of Lord Edmund Wadsworth. She defies social protocols by secretly apprenticing to her Uncle Jonathan in order to learn the science of “forensic medicine.” Even though she is a young lady living in Victorian-era London, she strives to demonstrate that women are capable of doing anything a man can do. She dreams of attending forensic classes even though it is only “proper” for boys to attend those classes.
  • Thomas Cresswell is Uncle Jonathan’s other assistant and student. On the surface, he is quite arrogant and thinks himself the smartest person in the room. His skills are deductive reasoning and emotional detachment during investigations. But he is also a shameless flirt when it comes to Audrey Rose.
  • I loved the romance between Thomas and Audrey Rose! They have great chemistry and banter. The romance is chaste, which is the type of romance I typically prefer reading about.

Golden-brown eyes were perfectly set into an angular face, as if Leonardo da Vinci had painted him himself…. If he weren’t so infuriatingly aware of his own intelligence, he’d be quite attractive, I supposed.

Audrey Rose, Stalking Jack the Ripper

Final Thoughts

Ripper BasketIt took a little while for the investigation to get going, but once it did, the story definitely hooked me!

One thing that was slightly unclear to me is Uncle Jonathan’s job role/position in relation to the London police force. From where do all the cadavers he receives originate? Is he the city’s official mortician/medical examiner? Or is he simply one of several doctors whom the London police like to consult during their investigations? I’m still a little fuzzy on that because he examines the bodies in his own home.

I did wish to know more of Thomas’s background, but I’m guessing the author will include more about him in the subsequent books.

I also wasn’t too crazy about the spiritualist medium character, but apparently he was one of the historical people involved, so I understand why the author included him. I think it just bothered me that he sort of sends Audrey Rose on the trail of a suspect, and she seems absolutely convinced of the killer’s identity without hard evidence. (I don’t want to spoil, so I won’t say anymore about that.)

I certainly look forward to reading the subsequent books in this series, and the fourth book releases soon in September! I have a feeling I will enjoy reading them. Has anyone else read this series yet? What did you think? Happy reading πŸ™‚

*Content Warnings: The main thing to note is the violence (i.e. mutilated bodies, graphic wounds, guts/intestines, gashes, missing organs, etc.). The romance is very chaste.*

Spines that Shine

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