Hey lovely people! How’s it going? 🙂
So I’m back with another Halloween Review for you guys, this time of Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco. I’d been super curious about this book for a while now and decided this was the perfect time to try it!
I hope you like it ^_^
Audrey Rose, wealthy and privileged, leads a secret life in her uncle’s laboratory: she studies forensic medicine against her father’s wishes. One day, a wave of crimes against women thrusts her into a dangerous mission to find the culprit…
Audrey Rose was spunky and sassy but she also knew how to choose her battles. She was intelligent and talented, but not unrealistically so. It was also nice to see a female protagonist who could be both feminine and badass, and who acknowledged that as a good thing. Usually, it’s either one or the other and God forbid if they get mixed!
However, I didn’t always like her first-person POV – she could be a bit too self-aware yet way too clueless sometimes. I felt like I was always a step ahead of her, and her musings could get a bit too vapid.
Nevertheless, I liked how the entire book was so pro-feminism. It was refreshing to witness this young Victorian woman striving to have her voice heard above the men’s, even when they tried to stifle it at all costs. Though sometimes it felt like she was trying way too hard: her speeches became vastly repetitive and it was a bit annoying how she went on a feminist rampage every second available for the smallest of things. It simply ended up exhausting both the message and its meaning.
Strangely, this fierceness seemed to dwindle a little when it came to her love interest. I didn’t really care for him or their relationship. It felt neither necessary nor interesting. It was very insta-lovey and served no actual purpose other than to appeal to romance fans. Yes, it was cute every once in a while (because who doesn’t love incessant banter?) but then it became way too distracting and ended up stealing the attention away from the actual plot.
Another thing that kept me from loving this book was the fact that I actually realized who Jack the Ripper was in the first few chapters. This would have been fine had I been a mystery fan and exceedingly experienced in the subtle art of twists and turns, but I’m really not so having figured it out so early on was both discouraging and underwhelming.
On a more positive note, I was impressed with Maniscalco’s knowledge of this period in history, including medicine practices, locations, etc., Jack the Ripper and his victims, and how she used that information to her advantage. One can tell she did her research and it certainly made the whole thing very realistic.
This is not a horror book but it does carry some horror vibes to it. Some of the autopsy scenes and murder descriptions, for instance, actually made me pretty squeamish yet I was glad the author had taken the time to include them and not spare us any details. The whole atmosphere was quite ominous and made for an interesting take on a more modern Gothic novel.
I listened to the audiobook and thought the narrator, Nicola Barber, did a pretty good job with it. She had the right tone for a seventeen-year-old girl and was able to showcase both her innocence and her intensity, whenever the scene demanded it. She wasn’t as great when it came to male voices, though, and that spoiled my experience a bit.
Overall, this was an intriguing, suspenseful and creative retelling of a famous English murderer and the girl who would become obsessed with stopping him. It could have been a lot better, in my opinion, but it was thoroughly entertaining and managed to suck me in after only a few pages. I have to admit I was left a bit disappointed after all the hype surrounding it… But I think 3.5 candy corns are a fair rating.
Thank you so much for reading and until next time!