Halloween is upon us and so is cooler weather and changing leaves. I’m not typically a seasonal reader when it comes to my tbr pile, but this year I was in the mood for some thrillers and suspense. Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco and The Alienist by Caleb Carr were two books that really stood out to me.
Stalking Jack the Ripper
While this is listed as a YA book, I would take into account the subject matter of the book. Jack the Ripper is an interesting subject and one that I have been reading about for awhile. Since his crimes (murders of prostitutes in the most horrendous way) were never solved, there is plenty of room for fictional speculation. Stalking Jack the Ripper has an interesting tag line: I was the girl who loved The Ripper.
That line alone made me go into the story with high expectations and it actually made me think that the mystery would be cut an dry. However, expect a lot of smoke and mirrors, because there are actually a few more suspects than I thought there would be.
I loved the constant question that I was asking myself: Who the heck is it really?
It’s a gritty world, as Victorian London is wont to be. Audrey Rose, our protagonist, takes some getting used to. She does fall into strong woman category, but I could not find her endearing. Her questionable decisions which had the potential to put her in danger, were a little annoying because of how her character was supposed to be level headed and “smart”.
Besides that, it was a fairly fast-paced read that kept me on my toes. I really enjoyed the secondary characters and the unique take on the infamous murders. It also has a sort of Steampunk feel to it, for those who enjoy that genre. Some chapters do have images (not from the actual murder scenes) but ones that tie in with what’s going on in the story.
“The dead speak to those who listen. Be quieter than even them.”
Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord’s daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.
Against her stern father’s wishes and society’s expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle’s laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.
I knew about the TV series before I knew that it was based on the book by Caleb Carr. I picked up this pretty hefty book because I enjoy the setting and genre. Set during the Gilded Age of America, 1896, it follows the story of a reporter and his friend psychologist (Alienist), Dr. Laszlo Kreizler as they try to solve murders of young boy prostitutes.
It’s an immense world that takes time to adjust too. The author tends to be very descriptive when it comes to locations and ambiance. It’s really slow going in the beginning, but the plot definitely picks up after the first murder and it becomes more enjoyable once the characters are introduced.
The murders are actually quite gruesome. But it actually makes the reader feel invested as the characters are to find the murderer.
I loved the camaraderie between John (the reporter) and Dr. Kreizler. It has a Poirot/Captain Hastings feel to it, but a little different.
The story plays on the prejudices against foreigners and the hardships therein. (One of the main reasons, the boys were taking on prostitution).
Crime scene descriptions are very detailed, so if you are opposed to that, this is not the book for you.
Such detail to everything, made it more real.
The year is 1896. The city is New York. Newspaper reporter John Schuyler Moore is summoned by his friend Dr. Laszlo Kreizler—a psychologist, or “alienist”—to view the horribly mutilated body of an adolescent boy abandoned on the unfinished Williamsburg Bridge. From there the two embark on a revolutionary effort in criminology: creating a psychological profile of the perpetrator based on the details of his crimes. Their dangerous quest takes them into the tortured past and twisted mind of a murderer who will kill again before their hunt is over.
What are some of your favorite mysteries/thrillers?