Title: Stalking Jack the Ripper
Author: Kerri Maniscalco
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.
The story follows Audrey Rose Wadsworth, a girl who is working as her Uncle’s apprentice as a mortician. She is an intern for her uncle and attends his classes without anyone knowing. Her father would not approve of her doing what his ‘mad’ brother does for a living.
“Once I was standing over the body, I no longer saw the person she was in life. I only saw the shell left behind, and curiosity took hold in the worst of ways.”
It is in a class that she meets Thomas Cresswell, another apprentice of her Uncle. He seems to know an awful lot about murder and how the recent dead took place. There were a woman who was murdered by who the news papers are calling “the Leather Apron.”
Many women keep popping up dead and Audrey Rose discovers that her father might have known them. When her father gets sent to the country for health reason, she takes the time to investigate on her own. Her and Thomas Cresswell become partners in finding how her father knew of these women. They go to the home of her fathers old friend, and on his death bed, he rambles about someone named “Alister” and how “he knows,” right before dying. The mystery is thickening.
“I was determined to be both pretty and fierce, as Mother has said I could be. Just because I was interested in a man’s job didn’t mean I had to give up being girly. Who defined those roles anyhow?”
Another gruesome death occurs. This book is full of gore and in a way, I like it. It’s true to the story of Jack the Ripper and adds depth to the book.
One night, Audrey Rose and Thomas discover that her uncle has been arrested as a suspect for the murders. Which is crazy. The man is trying to solve the murders, not commit them!
“Jack the Ripper came back with a vengeance after nearly a month of peace. He hadn’t made idle threats in the “Dear Boss” letter. Jack had promised violence untold, and that’s percisely what he’d done.”
More deaths and more accusations are thrown about during the last quarter of the book. I will say, that the last maybe six or seven chapters sealed this book in my top favorites of the year. Everything about the story wraps up so beautifully in the end. Yes, I was a sobbing mess once I found out who the Ripper actually was. I felt so betrayed. You put so much trust in a character that when they do something that takes away that trust, it hurts. I cried a lot in the last few chapters. The monstrous things going on in those final moments left me terrified and heartbroken.
Let’s talk about Audrey Rose for a second. I LOVE this character. She’s headstrong, confident, and can hold her own in this world that she’s living in. Seeing a woman doing this type of job in this time period is huge! I love how she stands up for herself in such a mans world. I love her so much. Her mindset and attributes as a character is something woman should strive for.
Her and Thomas’ companionship is wonderful. If you know me at all, then you know I love a sarcastic, dark minded character. Thomas is the perfect example of that. He’s smart, cunning, and sassy. He and Audrey Rose make the perfect team. They both care for each other and work together to solve this case. I can’t wait to see more of them in book two.
Overall, I think Kerri Maniscalco has written a fantastic novel. Everything from the Victorian dialect to the wardrobe to the scenery, it was wonderful. This book was thrilling and beautifully written. I loved every second of it. With so many twists and turns, I never wanted to put it down. If I were you, I’d pick this book up immediately. I PROMISE you won’t regret it.