Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

Today, I go on with my thriller theme with a book for lovers of historical thrillers. Indeed, as you can guess from its title, this book follows the crimes of the famous Jack the Ripper. Even if his identity seems to have been recently discovered, it’s always fun to try other hypothesis even if they’re totally fictional.

Genre: thriller, history, retelling

The synopsis

Audrey Rose Wadsworth has all we expect from a lady. Her father is a lord, her brother a dandy and she wears silk dresses and knows how to receive for tea. But she has a peculiar interest in forensic medicine, a science she is learning from her uncle and against her father’s wishes.

When mutilated bodies begin to be discovered in sinister parts of London, Audrey Rose is dragged into following the traces of a dangerous serial killer. And he might be nearer than she thinks…

The review

I’ve read this book earlier in the year and I remember having enjoyed it as a quick read. The story of Jack the Ripper has always interested me so when I found this retelling I thought ‘why not?’ And if the readers familiar to this historical episode are maybe not learning much, the ones knowing nothing about it are given all the elements of it. The construction of the historic setting is great and we can see all the researches made by the author about both the period and the murders. The gothic athmosphere is perfect for a murder mystery making the book a good autumnal, Halloween read (for those wanting to reach this part of the year already).

Audrey Rose is quite an unusual Victorian lady with her interest for forensic medecine and her independent character. It’s interesting to follow the challenges of Audrey Rose in a men’s world since she is dependent on both her father and her brother (even if the latter seems to cope with her original behaviour). She is quite the classic heroine: smart and courageous, this courage putting her in situations that are sometimes uncomfortable. With these traits, it’s easy for the modern reader to create a link with her and to remain in a somewhat comfort zone. The thing I liked was that she is modern even for today, a time where women have more liberty but where prejudices are still strongly presents.

The character I enjoyed more than Audrey Rose was her uncle. He’s obviously a forensic doctor and the one teaching and encouraging her in her passion, without caring much about the fact she’s a woman. For him, if you have a brain you have one, and you should be using it no matter your genre. If you’re looking for a crazy scientist character, he’s exactly what you’re looking for.

As for the plot, the author succeeded to create mystery and fun in it, even if I knew the events used. The choice of the culprit was very clever and unexpected, demonstrating a great understanding of human’s psychology. The construction of the character of Jack the Ripper is absolutely perfect and I almost felt pity for him because the reasons behind the murders are so human and understandable.

Overall, a very good book for those looking for a quick murder mystery or the ones interested in Jack the Ripper.

My rating: 4/5

Note: this book is the first in a series of four

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