TITLE: Stalking Jack The Ripper
AUTHOR: Kerri Maniscalco
SERIES? ‘Stalking Jack The Ripper’ book 1/4
GENRE/ AGE RANGE: Mystery, Historical Fiction, Young Adult
TW: death, drug abuse (Opium), past trauma, loss of a loved one, autopsies, serial killer, insomnia, paranoia, misogyny (not always challenged allowed, often challenged by MC), smoking, abusive/harmful parenting, women attacked on the street, missing body parts, injury, flayed dead body, organ transplants, use of word ‘spastic’ (not in relation to a person)
PUBLICATION DATE: September 20th, 2016
Character Guide ⇩
►Audrey Rose Wadsworth → Main character
►Thomas Cresswell → Love interest
►Jonathan Wadsworth → Audrey Rose’s uncle
►Nathaniel Wadsworth → Audrey Rose’s brother
►Edmund Wadsworth → Audrey Rose’s father, Opium abuser
Sooo, if you’ve followed me for a while you probably know that I am a BIG fan of this series and a massive Jack the Ripper nerd, so you may be wondering why I’m here reviewing it when I already have a review up on my blog. Welll, I recently decided to re-read the series because the finale recently came out and as I was reading I started noticing more and more things that didn’t sit well with me, so here I am coming at you with a negative nancy review of one of my favourite books, because I’m just fun like that!
[But, if you’d like to read about all the positive reasons for why you should read SJTR, you can find my previous review here!]
“Fear is a hungry beast. The more you feed it, the more it grows.”
WHAT I LIKED
I do want to stress that while this is a more negative review than I would like, I do really love this book!
- Maniscalco writes suspense really well! (the audiobook is great for this!)
- The writing is pretty good (this was Kerri Maniscalco’s debut novel)
- The characters are all really fun!
- I’m a Jack The Ripper fan, so this is my kind of sh*t.
- If you read the Author’s Note you can see how much research Manisccalco put into this and I found that really interesting!
- Audrey Rose is a really strong but vulnerable character, and I can’t wait to see how she develops throughout the rest of the series!
- The atmosphere is ON POINT
- I live for the whole “oh no we’re traumatised better go make some tea” vibe IT’S SO BRITISH I LOVE IT
- Audrey Rose is really smart (but still learning), we love an intelligent main character
- I love that this is a similar twist on the Sherlock x John narrative. Thomas is VERY similar to Sherlock from the BBC show, in his deductions, and general lack of emotion and I think Audrey Rose is quite similar to John at times. But what I love about this is that the roles are reversed in this series because Thomas is the one following from Audrey Rose’s lead most of the time.
I really think that if you like the general vibe and atmosphere of Cassandra Clare’s Clockwork trilogy & any of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries you’d really enjoy this book.
and and and and andand and
If you think this was pretty average, I get it, if I didn’t find the Jack The Ripper killings so compelling I’d probably think it was entirely average, but I implore you to try reading book 2, because it’s in an entirely different country and Maniscalco steps it up about 10 notches and the atmosphere is spot on for Halloween/Spooky time!
“There’s nothing better than a little danger dashed with some romance.”
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
My first gripe with this book is barely a gripe but I had to talk about this somewhere, so here we are! This book is sort of insta-lovey, but I think that’s mostly because there aren’t really any other guys her age in this book beside her brother (she is 17). Also, straight up the love interest is jokingly (I think???) professing his love for the main character by the end of the book so… insta-love is present but it doesn’t completely take over the book because at the end of the day, this is still a murder mystery.
Here’s where I start to get a bit more negative. Audrey Rose is biracial and of Indian descent. Her Indian heritage is brought up a few times throughout the book (and from what I can remember, not at all in book 2) and as far as I’m aware isn’t mentioned again in the other books, which feels really fishy to me, so I just wanted to mention it. It’s great to have biracial rep in books, especially in historical fiction, but you can’t just mention it once, get the rep cred and never mention it again because that feels gross to me.
I’m just going to say this once and then I’m going to go back to pretending like I never noticed and I’m going to fade into the bliss that comes with naivety because I love these books. BUT sometimes Thomas really does say the creepiest most inappropriate sh*t & as much as I love him and can appreciate a complex character, it makes me uncomfortable and I’m not here for it.
“…Or must we share a bed to prove my innocence? Actually… that might not be a terrible idea.” (Ch 25, pg.254)
I know that a lot of what Thomas says is just meant to show how progressive and open he is with Audrey Rose, and that he’s not afraid to brush aside traditions and he’s all modern and blah blah blah whatever. But, this is a quote from chapter 25, and there are a few more like this throughout the book.
Look, I don’t want to start a fight with all the Thomas stans out there because I love him too, but I do just want to say that if a guy came onto a girl like this in 2019 we’d all have a fit and cancel him on 0.02 seconds, fictional or not. So, I don’t understand why, just because this is historical fiction & he’s British, he gets away with saying some very un-cute, very creepy things. Okay, rant over, I had to say it, sorry if I offended anyone.
Also, another gripe i have with this book is Audrey Rose’s take on feminism but I already talked about that in a past review, so if you want to read my thoughts you can click here.
“What is a man’s soul made of that a woman’s is not?”
I think that it’s safe to say that this book has its flaws and is not the strongest mystery but this was my fourth time reading it in 3 years and my second time reviewing it. I may have my critiques and issues with the book but I really do love it and I can’t wait to continue my re-read of the series. You should definitely be expecting my reviews for the rest of the series to be up in the next week. Enjoy & happy reading!
TRIGGER WARNINGS: death, drug abuse (Opium), past trauma, loss of a loved one, autopsies, serial killer, insomnia, paranoia, misogyny (not always challenged allowed, often challenged by MC), smoking, abusive/harmful parenting, women attacked on the street, missing body parts, injury, flayed dead body, organ transplants, use of word ‘spastic’ (not in relation to a person)
Meeting Thomas Cresswell | ★★★★☆
TW: Cheating, death of a loved one (parent), death, surgery
This is the first four (4) chapters of Stalking Jack The Ripper from Thomas’ point of view.
I found it pretty hard to rate this because I generally don’t read short stories or anthologies and this is just a very short novella, but I definitely had a lot of fun reading this and really seeing how Thomas thinks and processes situations. I think it’s safe to say that I put off reading this for so long was because I generally think stories re-written from another perspective are dumb cash grabs BUT, I was genuinely surprised by how much I loved this. I don’t think I would be too mad if, down the line, Kerri Maniscalco decided to re-tell these stories in Thomas’ pov, or even just write a few more stories from his perspective because this was a lot of fun and I honestly found it really fun and rewarding being able to learn more about him this way.
I don’t think this is by any means necessary or compulsory if you want to read the series, but it was for sure entertaining and an interesting read. If you’re a Thomas Cresswell fan, or a fan of the series, in general, and you have the chance to pick this up, you should definitely give it a go, especially since it’s such a short read.