Genre: Historic Mystery Horror Age Range: YA Star Rating: 4 stars Series: yes - book 2
*SPOILER ALERT: contains SPOILERS for STALKING JACK THE RIPPER*
Following the grief and horror of her discovery of Jack the Ripper’s true identity, Audrey Rose Wadsworth has no choice but to flee London and its memories. Together with the arrogant yet charming Thomas Cresswell, she journeys to the dark heart of Romania, home to one of Europe’s best schools of forensic medicine… and to another notorious killer, Vlad the Impaler, whose thirst for blood became legend.
But her life’s dream is soon tainted by blood-soaked discoveries in the halls of the school’s forbidding castle, and Audrey Rose is compelled to investigate the strangely familiar murders. What she finds brings all her terrifying fears to life once again.
Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.
This is a really fun sequel that seemed just the right thing to draw me in after struggling for a little with reading as my mind’s been all over the place. I think the genre change helped too.
As my rambling “genre” description above shows, this is a nightmarish book to classify. It’s part murder mystery, part historical gothic that verges on horror at times. I never believed that there really were vampires (etc) in the scientific world Kerri Maniscalco has envisioned. However the finale became very creepy to the point I could almost believe the author was going to pull a paranormal twist.
The reasoning behind the murders felt a little convoluted, compared to the emotional punch of the first book, but as the focus was on the atmosphere created by the murders, I didn’t mind so much.
I found I enjoyed Audrey Rose and Thomas’ relationship more in this book than the first. While I did like their banter in the first book, I’m glad that their relationship has deepened so it’s not all on snippy retorts. The quick replies are still present, but there’s a much less competitive undertone so it feels more like friends on an in-joke trying to amuse the other just to hear them laugh at the quip. There’s more friendly teasing and a LOT of flirting.
Thomas is very roguish in his speech, while maintaining a respectful boundary – which I liked. While I did want to smack him for the things that set of their relationship wobble, I also liked how the aftermath was handled and how he learnt from it. He’s the good sort of “bad boy”, one who isn’t a questionable love interest full of toxic traits.
I’d like to read the next book, and see what unsettling adventures these two get up to next!
Read my reviews of other books by Kerri Maniscalco:
Stalking Jack the Ripper (this series):
Kingdom of the Wicked: