Pre-Release: Why Stalking Jack The Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco Disappointed Me

Presented by James Patterson's new children's imprint, this deliciously creepy horror novel has a storyline inspired by the Ripper murders and an unexpected, blood-chilling conclusion...

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's shocking twists and turns, augmented with real, sinister period photos, will make this dazzling debut from author Kerri Maniscalco impossible to forget.

First of all, according to goodreads, this is part one of an untitled trilogy, but I'm not sure I believe it. If it's true, then I'm definitely going to think about some things differently, but at the same time I really can't see it being true. How can you have a trilogy about Jack the Ripper when he's caught in book one and everything is concluded so well? I suppose I'll just pretend this is a standalone until proven otherwise.

Now before I share my thoughts on why this Jack the Ripper mystery wasn't everything I wanted it to be, I want to make it clear that I'm most certainly not saying this is a bad book. All I'm saying is that I had rather high expectations for this novel, and that they simply weren't met. What I'm saying is more along the lines of I didn't get what I wanted, and some parts of this story didn't work for me, but overall it was actually a pretty swell read.

I certainly loved the detail the author went into about the Jack the Ripper killings, and how accurate a lot of the historical facts were - it's clear that Kerri Maniscalco knew what she was writing about, and is very interested in the topic of Jack the Ripper. The murders seen in the book were intriguing, if gruesome, and there is nothing that Jack the Ripper cannot make more interesting. I adored how feminist the main character as much as I hated the men who talked down to/ignored her and took for granted her skills as a forensic scientist. Speaking of, I also admired the talk of forensics, as it was one of my favorite classes in high school, and any reader of murder mysteries is aware of the role of forensics in solving those mysteries. The writing was well done as were the plot points, but here's what went wrong for me with the novel.

1. I didn't really connect with any of the characters.

Be it the main character Audrey or anybody else in this book, I mostly viewed everyone very objectively. I formed no connections nor got very invested in anyone, despite the fact that there was nothing wrong with the characters. I suppose they were just too unoriginal and maybe a bit bland for me?

2. It took forever for me to be just okay with the love interest, and I never actually came to love him.

From the very first moment I laid my eyes on Thomas, not only did I know that he was going to be the love interest, but I knew that he was the most annoying creature on Earth. True to my instincts, there was probably only one or two instants in this entire book where he did something that didn't cause me to roll my eyes and/or want to smack him, and not in a lovey-dovey type of way. Also, Thomas and Audrey's romance seemed to be very cliché and trope-y to me - Audrey was constantly admiring something about Thomas against her will and thinking about him against her will and it all seemed very forced. I just didn't connect with it.

3. I actually figured out who Jack the Ripper was well before Audrey did.

I do love it when I'm right about who the murderer is, but I actually prefer it when it comes as a total surprise that I was nowhere near guessing. I at least wish that Audrey would have been somewhere on the right track, but nope, she literally thought of everyone of the suspect except the person who was the suspect (which is, of course, how I figured it out). The plot was perfectly fine: I just wish Audrey could have caught on to things much sooner.

4. I'd expected a storyline that would keep my heart rate up and keep me reading, but alas, it was not to be.

Perhaps a closer/more immediate involvement in stopping Jack the Ripper would have helped, as this mystery was very similar to any other. Despite it's historical accuracy and murdering of prostitutes, there's nothing major that makes this stand out as a book about Jack the Ripper. The mystery wasn't very intense, and the pacing was average.

5. I didn't appreciate the motive behind the Jack the Ripper murders.

This is probably terrible of me, but with someone like Jack the Ripper involved, I want the motive to be something unpredictable and very akin to his personality. In this book, I predicted the reason for the murders once I figured out who the culprit was. Also, despite the ghastly way each prostitute was murdered, the murders weren't actually about them, and was only a stepping stone to a larger plot. It would have been fine, except I was bored with the larger plot.

Stalking Jack the Ripper was by no means a bad book, but it disappointed me because it could have been so much better.

Rating: ★★★ + 1/2

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