‘Escaping From Houdini’ once again chronicles the trials and tribulations of Audrey Rose Wadsworth and Thomas Creswell, who, after the events of ‘Hunting Prince Dracula’ arrive on board the RMS Etruria to make their journey to America. However, what initially begins as an opportunity to relax and unwind from the dreadful events at their castle in Romani soon devolves into a manhunt for a mysterious killer who is directly tied t the Moonlight Carnival, an alluring troupe of actors each with their own agendas. As the days until their arrival on American shores dwindles insidiously, Audrey and Thomas desperately struggle to uncover the culprit of the dastardly murders, all while trying to contain their growing infatuation with one another and the threat of other individuals to the bond that is evolving from one that is strictly platonic.
Anyone who has read my past reviews on ‘Hunting Prince Dracula‘ and ‘Stalking Jack the Ripper‘ will be well aware that this series is one of my favourites of all time. ‘Hunting Prince Dracula’ still remains as my favourite novel of 2020, and I simply feel that both novels were perfectly composed of a satisfying blend of horror, humour and heart. But, if I’m being perfectly honest, this third installment in the series is simply far too derivative of the original two novels, and offers little more than a distraction rather than an engrossing read.I was actually very eager to begin this novel, as I frequently have been interested in novels that center around carnivals and circuses (read ‘Freeks’ by Amanda Hocking or ‘The Carnivorous Carnival’ by Lemony Snicket) but the novel fell flat also found that the eponymous character, Harry Houdini, was thoroughly dislikeable, and the way he seemed to continuously prey on Audrey only added to my sense of distaste. The only redeeming feature for the novel was Maniscalco’s undeniable wit and verbose talent when constructing written language, something which I hope that this series never loses.i also found that the revelation at the end of this novel about the killer’s true identity was in no way surprising, nor was it captivating, and if a reader fails to have this moment when the culprit is finally discovered in a mystery novel, I can safely say that an author has failed in their writing to create the atmosphere needed for a good whodunnit. I never thought that I would be able to critique a Kerri Maniscalco novel so blatantly, but this novel really disappointed me, and made me cautious about the next novel in the series, which I will pick up soon with hopes that it will whet my appetite better than this entry in the series.
OVERALL RATING: 6/10