Audrey Rose has everything that a high society sophisticated lady needs. A wealthy father, loving brother and a full life of privilege and connections. Except for the fact that she would rather spend her time cutting open a dead body than trying on new gowns. And now with a serial killer on the loose Audrey Rose will find that her desire for the truth will cost her a lot more than just her image.
The 2016 book Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco was an instant want for me as soon as I heard the synopsis. Jack the Ripper, darkness, mystery and a strong female lead that defies society, perfect right? Add all the hyped reviews on top of that and you have a very excited me. So as soon as I had the option to pick this book up I was all over it, but despite the incredible synopsis and hype, I was left bitterly disappointed.
Famous serial killer, brutal murders, and a big mystery. Sounds like an awesome fast paced book right? Wrong. Now slow paced mysteries can be fun and intriguing but in Stalking Jack the Rippers case, I just found it boring. The whole case seemed to move unbearably slow, I found myself pushing through each page hoping for a satisfactory development, but very little came. Now I understand that this book was very character focused. We have to follow Audrey’s story and watch as she uncovers more about herself and her life. But the workings of her life and the murders just didn’t work well together for me. I can’t pin point it exactly, maybe it was the fact that I felt as though we spent very little time actually investigating the murders and more time just watching Audrey think about them.
One of the big selling points of this novel was that it’s a strong feminist book with an equally strong female character. This was also my least favourite part of this book. Now Audrey lives in a very tough society for women, and this is highly relevant to the story. But having it mentioned almost every page and shoved down my throat had me gasping for air. As I said it’s very relevant and it’s bound to come up lots through out the story. But it lacked any natural essence and just ended up feeling forced.
Even though this book talks greatly about the strength of women, there are virtually no women. I think there are only three women in this book that are fully fleshed out characters (correct me if I’m wrong). And two of those women are virtually non-existence. Audrey is surrounded by men, which once again is relevant to feminist theme. But I found that our strong protagonist actually did very little other than stumble around and claim that she was incredibly smart. In fact, this entire book seemed to be driven by male characters and their decisions. Which left me wondering what part of this book was supposed to make me feel empowered?
Despite all this, I found Kerri Maniscalco’s depiction of Jack the Ripper both interesting and imaginative. Her research into the times and case was both obvious and impressive. And the way she gave more life to the victims of Jack the Ripper was touching. The mystery was clear and concise which as someone who sometimes gets distracted, I appreciate heavily.
Overall I was fairly disappointed with Stalking Jack the Ripper. Some parts of this book almost seem like a selling strategy instead of a naturally written story. I will not be continuing on with this series but would be happy to give Kerri Maniscalco’s books another chance in the future.
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