Review: Hunting Prince Dracula (Stalking Jack the Ripper #2) by Kerri Maniscalco

“Hunting Prince Dracula” was a fitting second book to follow “Stalking Jack the Ripper”. I enjoyed much of it, though I couldn’t help but feel that certain places in the narrative moved much slower than they otherwise could’ve been. Perhaps that was the nature of the way the story set up or the pacing of some of the minor conflicts compared to the major ones, but I definitely felt the weight of those moments while moving through this story.

“Hunting Prince Dracula” picks up where “Stalking Jack the Ripper” left off. Audrey Rose and Thomas are shipped off to a special academy in Romania to further develop their skills in forensic medicine in the aftermath of the horrible events of the Jack the Ripper case. Yet while in a competition for two competitive spots at the school, several mysterious murders and disappearances leave Audrey Rose and Thomas working together yet again to figure out the truth, even as they end up in the crosshairs of events themselves.

Audrey Rose has been shaken greatly from the revelations and events of the last novel. She’s tough in the mix of the chaos, but her vulnerability is palpable in moments of the novel that I thought were woven well into the story. The novel does a great job showing her struggles between personal trauma and professional momentum that meets with perceptions against women of her time. Thomas slightly got on my nerves with his role in some clashes and conflicts Audrey Rose faces. Yet, at least the novel deals with them and Thomas is a character who – when taken to task – does change his actions and attitude for the better. The mystery in this one took a little longer to hit the ground running because of how it was set up. You definitely see the deaths and the subsequent suspects line up in this novel, but not nearly as well tied as the first novel in this series for intrigue.

As the novel went on and worked towards the conclusion, I started seeing the pieces falling into place as to who was behind the events and why. The framing of the narrative around Prince Dracula and blending a bit of history with lore was a nice touch (though like the first novel, there were certain liberties taken with it). I definitely saw growth in both Audrey Rose’s and Thomas’s characters throughout this narrative. Some of the side-characters had well enough establishment, but could’ve used a little more fleshing out. I liked seeing their interactions with the main characters, and I especially liked seeing a bit of Thomas’s family come into the picture.

The ending of this novel was satisfying in the sense of tying up the mystery and providing a bridge to the next story, which will take place in America. I’m definitely invested in this series and am looking forward to “Escaping from Houdini.”

Overall score: 3.5/5 stars.

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