Format: Hardcover, 336 pages
Release Date: September 20, 2016
Publisher: Jimmy Paterson
Genre: YA, Thrillers, Suspense, Historical
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.
Stacking Jack the Ripper is the first installment in debut author Kerri Maniscalco's Stalking Jack the Ripper series. Stalking Jack the Ripper is a story that is dark and gruesome at times, fun where it can be, and romantic in other parts. The story is set in Victorian England, circa 1888, the series features 17-year old Audrey Rose Wadsworth as its protagonist. Audrey Rose is a forensic apprentice under the guise of her uncle Dr. Jonathan Wadsworth. She is intelligent, determined, and not really comfortable with fitting into societies expectations even though her aunt and father have impressed the importance of doing so.
Maniscalco does a brilliant job of bringing Victorian England to life, while also taking some artistic changes to the time frame of the story and her villain, Jack the Ripper who is one of the more villainous murders in human history. Audrey becomes wrapped up in the Jack the Ripper murders after women are left propped up and savagely killed and innocent people are charged with their deaths. Audrey's journey would not be complete were it not for the inclusion of one Thomas Cresswell, who is not only as brilliant as Audrey, but perhaps even more arrogant because he isn't afraid to push Audrey out of her comfort zone.
With a father like Audrey's who is petrified of diseases, and wanting to keep her wrapped up in bubble wrap until she marries, Audrey doesn't follow along like a meek Mary Sue waiting for the male alpha character to lead her where she needs to go. I dare say that the banter between Audrey and Thomas boarders on being Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson like. In case you're wondering, that's a good thing. The more snarky the banter, the more enjoyable the story. I like the dangers that Audrey faces and the way she handled each situation that was put into her way.
I think the author sends a definite message to all young women that if you put your mind to it, and stick to what you want to do in your lives, you can do pretty much anything. Audrey wants to become a forensic scientist. She wants to be who she wants to be, and not let anyone put her in a mold and not let her express herself or who she actually is. The story's mystery is sound, and really I had no clue where it was going until the very end. That's a well written novel that doesn't really leave any bread crumbs for you to follow the the villain of the story.