Title // Stalking Jack the Ripper
Author // Kerri Maniscalco
Publication Date // September 2016
Publisher // Jimmy Patterson
Genre // Young Adult, Mystery
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.
Stalking Jack the Ripper is a young adult take on the story of Jack the Ripper and the mystery surrounding his killings in Victorian London.
Audrey Rose is a young woman with ambitions of becoming a doctor and spends her free time (much to the chagrin of her family) apprenticing to her uncle who is a forensic scientist. This is obviously an ‘unsuitable’ profession for a young woman to enter in this time period and the novel addresses this in numerous ways, which was both intriguing and frustrating to read. Audrey Rose is fiercely determined to follow her passion and finds herself embroiled in the mystery surrounding Jack the Ripper, alongside her uncle’s second apprentice, Thomas Cresswell.
I loved the character interplay between Audrey Rose and Thomas – the two are constantly bickering, and yet there is an undeniably chemistry between them. I enjoyed as their relationship evolved as they both learnt to navigate (and negotiate) what begins to develop between them. There are definite parallels between Audrey Rose and Thomas and Sherlock Holmes and John Watson (I’ll leave it to you to decide whom fits whom best).
Overall, the mystery aspect was rather predictable – identifying who Jack the Ripper is was no arduous task for the reader – however I didn’t feel it detracted too much from the story which I felt was more about Audrey Rose trying to find her place in her world on her terms. Ultimately, the final reveal, I felt, was quite gruesome, which I loved, because I wasn’t expecting it at all. If the killer wasn’t a surprise, the motivations definitely were.
The addition of old photographs to set the mood and the location were creepy and wonderful and really added to the book.
I rated Stalking Jack the Ripper 3.5 out of 5 stars.