(Image from Barnes & Noble)
Audrey Rose hides a secret desire behind her high-born Victorian facade. The 17-year-old is fascinated by science, specifically forensics, the science of crime and death. As often as she can, Audrey Rose sneaks away from the home she shares with her paranoid father and protective older brother to her uncle's laboratory. An unofficial apprentice, she watches and learns all she can from her Uncle Jonathon's study of recently-deceased bodies. Disguised as a young man, she even attends his lectures on forensics at a local boy's school.
When Jonathon starts receiving the corpses of women brutalized in similar ways, it becomes apparent that a serial killer is on the loose in London. With the help of a handsome schoolmate, Audrey Rose is determined to find the killer. To her shock, the clues lead her in the one direction she doesn't want to go ...
I find books about forensics, especially in the earliest days of the discipline, intriguing, so naturally I wanted to give Stalking Jack the Ripper, a debut novel by Kerri Maniscalco, a go. What did I think? Well, it tells a compelling story. Familiar, yes. Predictable, yes. But I still found myself engrossed. Even though I could tell where the plot was going, I wanted to know how it all wrapped up. My biggest problem with the novel was with our heroine, Audrey Rose. A wealthy Victorian young woman flitting off to a bloody lab and gory crime scenes frequently without raising many eyebrows seems extremely far-fetched. The fact that she cares nothing about her reputation or family name means she risks little by dabbling in the "dark arts," making her story less tense and urgent than it could have been. Audrey Rose also seems more interested in science than humanity, which makes her difficult to empathize with at times. Considering all this, I didn't end up enjoying Stalking Jack the Ripper nearly as much as I thought I would. It kept me reading, but in the end, it was just okay for me.
If this were a movie, it would be rated:
for brief, mild language (no F-bombs), violence, and blood/gore
To the FTC, with love: I bought a copy of Stalking Jack the Ripper from Changing Hands Bookstore with a portion of the millions I make from my lucrative career as a book blogger. Ha ha.