In 1888 London, Audrey Rose Wadsworth defies her father and society, and secretly tutors under her uncle doing autopsies. Through her studies she comes face-to-face with the victims of Jack the Ripper. She feels compelled to figure out who the Ripper is and bring him to justice, but the investigation may lead to dark secrets better kept hidden.
This debut novel by Maniscalco and the first YA novel in James Patterson’s “Jimmy” imprint, fell flat for me.
The premise caught my interest, and the first chapters were a nice set up, but the pace soon slowed. The title is a bit misleading, as most of the “stalking” is done through forensic investigation and autopsies. The middle sags, and the climax picks up with more action, though the true identity of Jack the Ripper was a bit predictable.
Because Audrey Rose wants to practice man’s work in the late 1800’s, I was expecting a bit of feminism in the book. Obviously, this character was breaking through barriers. The amount of it, though, seemed unnecessary as the character reminds us in almost every scene that she is capable though she is a woman. It also, at times, seemed that Audrey was using feminist arguments just as a means to do whatever she wanted, which was often foolish and dangerous.
There’s a romance between Audrey Rose and her classmate, Thomas, that’s more love-at-first-sight than depth of feeling.
There were a couple of times I almost stopped reading, but I kept going because of Thomas, though it wasn’t necessarily that I liked his character. The more we see of him, the more he reminded me of Sherlock Holmes; from his way of deducing to his arrogance, right down to the dog named Toby that he borrows and he declares is smarter than half of Scotland Yard (a close paraphrase from the stories by Arthur Conan Doyle). The likeness and references were so obvious to me that I thought it was have been intentional and I wanted to see where it went. It didn’t go anywhere. Even in her Author’s Notes, Maniscalco makes no mention of Doyle or Holmes, which seems odd since the character felt heavily borrowed from Holmes.
I can’t say that I enjoyed much about this novel. I was able to finish, but just barely and only out of curiosity surrounding Thomas.
1) Overall Plot = 2
2) Characters = 2.5
3) Flow/Pace of the story = 2.5
4) Is the story easy to follow? = 5
5) Overall Enjoyability = 2.5
Average score of 2.9 out of 5