Stalking Jack the Ripper, by Kerri Maniscalco, was published in 2016 by Jimmy Patterson Books.
At first I wasn’t sure if I would like Stalking Jack the Ripper as the protagonist seemed to be of the rebellious female trope that I don’t really like. However, while that certainly was the case, I actually liked Audrey Rose up to a certain extent. While she did have that annoying “I can do whatever I want” attitude, I liked the fact that she still appreciated good clothing and that she also displayed many feminine characteristics despite her progressiveness.
I also found that the romance, while typical, even cliché, was quite sweet and I liked the chemistry between Audrey Rose and Thomas. I thought Thomas was too Sherlock Holmesian in his deduction skills, but I liked the contrast between Thomas’s deduction and Audrey Rose’s induction—or, basically, reason versus feeling.
The mystery portion was good, though I found that actually “solving” the Jack the Ripper mystery made the novel almost too fictional, if I’m making any sense. It’s hard for a novel to successfully pull off an unsolved mystery and maintain an aura of realism—it screams, more than other fiction books, “the author is completely making this up.” Maybe I take my fiction too seriously, though! I do give credit to Maniscalco for coming up with the mystery and the solution, of course. It just seemed strange to me to read.
The only major criticism I have for the mystery as a whole is that there’s a part near the beginning where Audrey Rose and Thomas are investigating one of the victims and there’s a dramatic scene where tantalizing snippets of dialogue are thrown out to heighten the mystery. Except that the scene was completely worthless, since nothing about it is ever explained. It’s literally a red herring meant to increase the suspense, and it annoyed me that we never got solid answers about it.
Oh, and Audrey Rose’s determination at the end of the novel made it incredibly obvious who the killer was, since it was a moment of “that character is way too fixated on this particular thing; therefore, it must not be true.”
Stalking Jack the Ripper was surprisingly enjoyable for starring a protagonist type that I usually hate. I think I will keep an eye on Maniscalco and see what she cooks up next.