Quick review for a progressive reading (partially for taking my time with the audiobook).
I enjoyed “Stalking Jack the Ripper” for what it offered, which was an entertaining story with a decent premise and interesting characters, particularly in its leading duo. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this book as much as I did. Central premise is that Audrey Rose is a young woman with scienitific leanings, working with her uncle in his autopsy laboratory with his young and brash apprentice (Thomas). A series of murders involving young women and attributed to the aforementioned villain, Jack the Ripper, frame the backdrop of this novel. Audrey Rose finds herself in pursuit of the madman, though she’s terrified that the blame centers on someone in her own circles, and she’s determined to find the killer, not just to exonerate the person accused, but also to stop the killings before others – even herself – end up being the target of Jack’s threatening letters and actions.
I had an idea of whom the culprit would be probably around the halfway point of the novel, but it still kept me guessing up to the very end because it left me with a few points of doubt – and sometimes the journey to discovering whom the culprit is and what comes of that is worth the overarching journey. I enjoyed watching Audrey Rose’s character as the novel went on – her love of science and the investigative aspects of her pursuits kept me moving through, especially when realizing that the murders were closer to home than she thought they would be. There were points of the novel where the pacing and dialogue went a little long, but I did enjoy the banter between Thomas and Audrey Rose, they had palpable chemistry and many potential points where their relationship could grow. This book takes a lot (and I dare say a lot) of historical liberties in the crafting of the novel. It’s not something that distracted me through my experiences in reading this (particularly with the strong narration by Nicola Barber), but I could definitely see people having trouble with it.
It did feel to me – in retrospect – like this is one of those introductions to a series that has a ton of potential in the ideas but only gave us part of what it could potentially be in the execution. I’m wondering that if Maniscalco has more wiggle room to expand upon the world and characterizations that it may very well hit a good stride as the series moves forward. I’m definitely willing to find out and I plan to read the rest of the books in this series as I own them in my library.
Overall score: 3.5/5 stars.