by Emily Andsager

Stalking Jack the Ripper, by Kerri Maniscalco:

A cup of murder
A teaspoon of mystery
½ cup of forensic science
A pinch of history
A handful of gore
One dashingly handsome Mr. Thomas Cresswell

These are the key ingredients that make up this thrilling book.

Watch your back as you walk the streets of London in 1888; you might just be Jack the Ripper’s next victim. Kerri Maniscalco takes us back in time with Audrey Rose Wadsworth, a girl fascinated by the forensic world, even if her father and the rest of society don’t approve of her nightly studies at her uncle’s laboratory. Taking up the needle, not to sew embroidery but to sew up the carcasses, is her work within these pages.

Lovers of the Jack the Ripper theories will be enthralled by Kerri Maniscalco’s compelling take on the notorious mystery of this well-known killer. This book made goosebumps crawl up my arms and the hairs on the back of my neck stand straight up. A perfect taste of history dazzled me without being too much, sweeping my fear of boredom away. 

While this tale is immersive, the reader should beware its triggering gory scenes having to do with disease, surgical procedures, or bodily descriptions. At least three pictures depict scenes throughout the book, giving the readers a great view of the actual letters written by Jack the Ripper and the circumstances of the bloody gore Audrey Rose is witnessed. The images, in particular, are not for the faint of heart.

Deep within the ink-stained pages, this isn’t just a book about a girl who wants to go against men’s expectations to fulfill her longing desire for science; it is also a debate of what is good and what is evil. It questions what line one has to cross to truly be evil. Moreover, if one crosses it, can they ever go back? Can one be born with madness corrupting their blood, or do they become evil due to circumstance? This theme is a question that men and women have argued over for ages, though they never reach  a conclusion. The answer is up to you to each reader.

There is one more entertaining aspect that fills in between all the mystery and gore: the romance between deviously handsome Thomas Cresswell and Audrey Rose. I’m a sucker for a book that can take soft brushes of skin and a simple kiss and make my breath catch and my toes curl. Don’t even get me started on Thomas. What a flirt, with a mind that can flicker emotion on and off like a light switch! Hearing his deductions cause me to stop and look around at anyone nearby, trying to get a read on who they are by the way they move or dress. Sadly, not much luck on my end, but it did open my eyes.

I hope you enjoy this work as much as I do and read the other three books in this series.

I’ll leave you with these words written within these pages by Kerri Maniscalco: “Always foster and grow that unquenchable curiosity of yours.”