Stalking Jack the Ripper is a gripping, fast-paced novel written by first-time author Kerri Maniscalco. The novel follows Audrey Rose Wadsworth, a young woman apprenticing with her Uncle in a mortuary deep within the alleyways and public houses in 1800s London. Wadsworth is soon caught up in a dangerous set of mass murderers as a killer—deemed ‘Jack the Ripper’ wreaks havoc on women in the dark of the night. Audrey Rose, along with her friend Thomas, steak away into the London night to try and halt Jack the Ripper and imprison him for his crimes. However, as Wadsworth delves deeper into the mysteries that plague darkened corners in the middle of the night, Wadsworth will realise that the true nature of this barbaric killer might just be closed to her than she ever thought.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. As a boy who consumes too many horror movies, creepy podcasts and dwells on YouTube conspiracy theory videos, I knew I had to take this book to the counter and buy it immediately. Jack the Ripper had always been a focal point of interest for me, and there are a myriad of novels that cleverly hide monsters and magic in the streets of archaic London.
One of the driving forces for the novel’s success was our protagonist. Audrey Rose Wadsworth is a silver-tongued heroine with no time for nonsense. Readers are sure to pick up on her courage and intelligence. Throughout the novel, Wadsworth continues to defy the stereotypes associated with women at the time. Wadsworth is the only woman working alongside her uncle, and continues to shut down men who deem that the job of autopsy is in no way a job for a woman. Wadsworth’s attitude towards this makes for a perfect heroine.
Another positive remark on the novel was the fact that, even though there are elements of romance sprinkled throughout the novel, it is in no way a central point, and readers are sure to be able to distance the romance subplot from the actual narrative. Time and time again, we have seen young adult novels narrated in the first person by girls in which romance is the central focus; however, in Stalking Jack the Ripper, this certainly is not the case. Wadsworth constantly displays her independence and intelligence without men needing to aid her, making her a strong individual, as well as being interesting to follow on a literary journey.
All in all, this novel was a great success. The characters were fantastic, the use of literary devices was spectacular, and the novel on the whole kept me up for several hours at night wanting to devour each chapter. For a début novel, this book certainly ranks high on my list of suspenseful novels.
OVERALL: 9.5 / 10