Rating: 4 stars
Genre: Young Adult, Horror, Gothic, Mystery, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance
Alright, of course there will be more words, I just needed to give you a proper motivation to grab this extraordinary book, and an obnoxiously yet damnably brilliant British boy seemed like a good idea. Now that I have your attention, let's move on, shall we?
“One taste of warm blood is never enough, Miss Wadsworth.”
Jack the Ripper.
The Whitechapel Murderer. Leather Apron. Whatever you call him, he's still the same; a monster that lingered in the shadows, bathed in blood and gore and terrorized London with his brutality and depravity. There are numerous theories about his identity, but none of them was confirmed. And so, Kerri Maniscalco crafted her own tale. A tale of heroes and villains.
“There’s nothing better than a little danger dashed with some romance.”
Audrey Rose Wadsworth was not a proper lady. She chose science over blind faith, and spent her afternoons cutting up dead bodies rather than taking her tea with actually proper ladies, discussing eligible bachelors and gowns. Her dark curiosity was never satisfied, so she cut and stitched and cut and stitched, until one day the mutilated body of a prostitute shook her to the core. And it was not the last. Assisted by an insufferable mortuary student, she made the solution of these horrible crimes her top priority, while her family was falling apart and Jack the Ripper was always one step ahead, solidifying his reign of terror. But sometimes answers can do more damage than good.
“Fear is a hungry beast. The more you feed it, the more it grows.”
Stalking Jack the Ripper was macabre. Gruesome. Ghastly.
The descriptions could be so graphic, that bile rised up my throat. The ambience so eerie, I couldn't suppress my shivers. The mystery so tangible, my heart bet frantically in my chest. Kerri Maniscalco's palette contained gloomy colours, grey for the mist that covered London, black for the shadows that hid the Ripper's work, mixed with crimson red, for all the blood that was spilled. And in the middle of this canvas of death were two young forensic students, a boy and a girl, whose skills and wit would make Sherlock Holmes and Watson proud.
Wadsworth. A girl determined to be both pretty and fierce, a girl that fought for what she wanted, sick of the stereotypes against women and eager to prove them wrong. And while I couldn't help but admire her for her spirit, I did get angry at her a couple of times. I should hate to be judgemental, but why why why was she so reckless and impulsive? When there is a serial killer on the loose, who targets women and his savagery is unprecedented, you don't leave your house late at night, lurking near the sight of the murders, based on the belief that he won't attack you.
Cresswell. A rich young man, cold and distant when it comes to murders and corpses, but with a fire burning within him that awaits for the moment to be ignited. His replies are always witty and sarcastic, he is aware of his marvelous deduction skills and vast knowledge, and this makes him arrogant, but he is caring, and loyal, and I am so smitten it's ridiculous!
“Without lifting his head from his own journal, he said, “Not having any luck figuring me out, then? Don’t worry, you’ll get better with practice. And, yes”—he grinned wickedly, eyes fixed on his paper—“you’ll still fancy me tomorrow no matter how much you wish otherwise. I’m unpredictable, and you adore it. Just as I cannot wrap my massive brain around the equation of you and yet adore it.”
Get a spoon because I am a puddle of goo! Wadsworth and Cresswell are always bickering, driving each other crazy, and the attraction between them turns slowly into something deeper that does funny things to your stomach (which is pleasant after all the ugly things the body parts and fluids have done to said delicate stomach), while the tension sets you on fire!
“I don’t blame you, I am rather attractive. The tall, dark hero of your dreams, swooping in to save you with my vast intellect. You should accept my hand at once.”
Stalking Jack the Ripper is a superb debut, and I am all too eager to read the next adventures of Wadsworth and Cresswell! Great job, Kerri Maniscalco!