Friday, October 13, 2017

STALKING JACK THE RIPPER BY KERRI MANISCALCO - BOOK REVIEW

I don't think I could have picked a better book to read right now. We're getting into colder weather, Halloween is coming up, its the perfect time to read a dark historical retelling of perhaps the most infamous murderer of all time.

Hello everyone!

I am back with another book review, today it is Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco. Thank you so much to Hachette Book Group for sending me a copy of this book for an honest review. As always, all opinions are my own.


The story follows seventeen-year-old Audrey, a girl in the late 19th century who is studying, much to her father's dismay, under her uncle, a forensic scientist. While Audrey is born to a privileged family, she would rather spend her time cutting and examining cadavers than attending teas. When a string of murders is committed, all in similar fashions, Audrey, as well as her uncle's other apprentice, Thomas, set out on a mission to find this killer, dubbed Jack the Ripper. But as Audrey soon finds out, the killer may be closer to her own heart than she thinks.

I went into this book hoping that it would wow me. I've had a streak of bad luck with historical fiction lately and I needed a win. Luckily, Maniscalco pulled it off brilliantly. Even though I had a list of suspects from the very beginning (the back of the book literally says that she is the girl who loves Jack the Ripper), I never guessed who Jack was.

This book was equal parts fast-paced thriller and brilliant historical fiction. I enjoy both of these genres generally, but put together? It was so fantastically done that I have no complaints.

I really enjoyed the connection between the past and modern day: how even though Audrey is a teen in the 1880s, a lot of the social issues she battles are still prevalent today. Being a female in a male-dominated (and at that time, discriminatory due to the "fragile" female gender) profession, having to prove herself every time she voiced an opinion, even leaving the house on her own volition. While times were different back then, it's easy to see how many of the core issues Audrey faces, we still face today. At the same time, I loved how Maniscalco didn't have Audrey completely shun her feminine side in favour of the masculine society she was immersed in. She still likes pretty dresses and flirting with suitors, just on her own terms.

The dynamic between Thomas and Audrey was fantastically done as well. Their relationship was paced so perfectly for this book. They were flirty but the (budding) romance didn't take over the entire story. There was enough going on in the rest of the book that the relationship added just the right amount of relief from corpses and killers. Maniscalco paced the relationship quickly enough that there actually was one, but just slow enough to keep you enticed throughout the book.

There are a few pictures throughout the book at the beginning of the chapters, nothing too crazy but they were just strategically placed and creepy enough to really add to the story. I both loved and was terrified to find the original letter from Jack the Ripper at the beginning of a chapter. I think there were times throughout the book where I forgot this was a HISTORICAL fiction, based on true events. The photos helped remind me that these things did really happen, minus any creative liberties of course.

Overall, I think this is a delightfully dark read, perfect for your October TBR!