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Murder, Mystery, and Malice--"Stalking Jack The Ripper" Book Review

By Lily Lovette and Gianna Gregory--Eagle Staff Writers

Are you looking for thrills, adventure, and a spine chilling mystery? If so, Kerri Maniscalco’s Stalking Jack The Ripper series is in the cards for you. The series started its rapid release in September of 2016 and came to an end a swift three years later in 2019. While this series isn’t a new release, it still keeps hold of readers with its gripping atmosphere. 

The original cover to the first book of the series. (Courtesy photo.)

Getting off to a slashing start, Stalking Jack The Ripper is the first book in the four-book series. The book features unconventional Audrey Rose Wadsworth who begins investigating dreadful murders happening in the moonlit nights of Victorian London. Looking to expand on her fascination with understanding the dead, Wadsworth secretly studies under her eccentric uncle Jonathan Wadsworth in his laboratory. Thomas Cresswell, a witty and mysterious apprentice under her uncle’s teaching, works with her to resolve not only the mangling murders but also the complexities of Audrey Rose herself. A heart-wrenching turn of events reveals a truly nightmarish ending to Stalking Jack The Ripper. 

In the second book Hunting Prince Dracula, Audrey Rose and Thomas are accepted into the prestigious Academy of Forensic Medicine and Science located in Romania. When traveling to Romania, their relationship deepens during unforeseen events while Audrey struggles to overcome her traumatic past in London. Once arriving at the academy, it doesn’t take long for things to take a more sinister turn. Rumors of Vlad Dracula’s return start to spread and bodies drained of their blood find their way into Audrey's hope of a fresh start. Once bloodlines are revealed, betrayal becomes inevitable, and Audrey unearths an intricate plan that places her at the heart of a labyrinth of uncertainties. 

Official art by Kerri Maniscalco depicting Mephistopheles. (Photo by Lily Lovette.)

In a mischievous new setting aboard the RMS Etruria Escaping From Houdini is the third book to the series where Audrey and Thomas travel across the Atlantic Ocean to the Americas in pursuit of Jonathan Wadsworth’s next case. Unbeknownst to them, The Moonlight Carnival, a traveling circus full of mystical acts and abnormalities, is aboard the ship as well. Led by ringleader Mephistopheles, a secretive and egotistical man. While being proficient in the sleight of hand, Mephistopheles attempts to manipulate his way into Audrey's heart and mind using his charm and cunning midnight bargains. Worse, Audrey and Thomas find still more morbid acts occurring after moonrise, with grisly murders of young women on deck, each depicting the face of a tarot cards. Audrey and Thomas work through the inexplicable murders along with their relationship’s turmoil. Careful to be wary of temptations and tricksters, Audrey must decipher the mysteries of the haunting RMS Etruria before the killer's finale.  

After the whirlwind journey on the RMS Etruria, Audrey and Thomas make their entrance into 1800’s New York City. Capturing The Devil marks the end of Stalking Jack The Ripper. Although lovestruck, Audrey finds herself increasingly overcome with thoughts of the dead instead of planning her courtship with Thomas. Once again, murder is in the air, the New York streets are blood-stained, and Audrey's past seems to follow her despite her travels. When the investigation starts to unfold, speculations of a copycat killer take forefront in Audrey's mind - that is, until a concealed letter comes to light, revealing that the murders might not be what they seem. Secrets arise and courtships are hanging by a thread. Full of malice, mystery, and murder, Capturing The Devil is a devious and decadent end to the series.

This series is unlike anything you will ever pick up. With its unique storyline and intensity you will definitely want to put this on your TBR.


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