Stalking Jack the Ripper is a fantastic debut! It is set in Victorian England but feels fresh using feminist ideas from today’s society questioning what is lady-like? This novel doesn’t hold back on blood and descriptions of the horrid acts. The novel uses the real crimes and letter’s from Jack the Ripper to enhance the realism of this bloody tale. There’s a picture of the original note that Jack sent to the police. The author takes license with the Jack’s story to better fit into the narrative of her own story.
The Plot: Audrey Rose Wadsworth lives in the year 1888 in London, at a time that an unknown figure was stalking and killing prostitutes. Audrey also lives in a time that is set on what a lady should and should not do, But she bucks the system, by assisting her uncle by investigating and dissecting the corpses of the recently deceased. Audrey does this all under the cover, she goes dressed as a boy to forensic science classes. Her father does not approve of this behavior, and has been more strict with his daughter as his wife passed away years ago from a sickness. Her brother who used to let her slide has been more protective as well, so she is led to sneaking out at night. Her Uncle has a new mysterious helper named Thomas that she’d either going to love or going to hate. He also doesn’t live by society’s rules, as he spends his time operating on the unclaimed dead. The killer grows more bold and Audrey notices a pattern that the all the dead women have, that makes her fear that the killer could be someone she knows. She’s also battling societies restrictions placed on her, but she’s determined to find out who the killer is by Stalking Jack the Ripper.
What I liked: The opening really puts you into what kind of story this is as Audrey cuts into one of Jack’s first victims. The character of Audrey Rose Wadsworth is written really well and you can’t help rooting for her. I like the way that Audrey and Thomas flirt, there relationship was very tenacious and combative. The author using the real words of Jack the Ripper and the crimes, they’re already so horrific nothing is added to this element. I liked that I learned stuff that I didn’t know about Jack the Ripper, or Saucy Jack. The descriptions and word choice was one of the better I’ve read in the category of Young Adult.
What I disliked: The character’s dialogue did not have any cockney to it, I felt the setting was correct but not the way they talked just felt very modern, which was probably a conscience choice but I needed a little to fully emerge myself. There was not enough suspects, only four really and I was able to figure it out too early by simply eliminating, who could have done it. I read a lot of mystery, which helped so it might not be as obvious as it was to me. The story was still great and I questioned it a couple times if I was indeed wrong.
I would recommend this for fans of Jack the Ripper. I also think this could be a good stepping stone novel to adult horror. The story reminded me of a young adult version of the excellent Matthew Corbett series written by Robert R. McCammon. I rated this novel I rated 4 out of 5 stars, because what this novel did right it did very well.