By Celina Mahabir
Recognized by Forbes Magazine as a No. 1 Bestselling Author, James Patterson has taken budding writer Kerri Maniscalco under his wing in order to help her publish her very first horror novel. Originally published on Sep. 20, “Stalking Jack the Ripper” was immediately well-received by a targeted young adult audience – becoming a New York Times Bestseller within two weeks of its release.
The novel follows the unconventional Audrey Rose Wadsworth as she defies her father’s wishes for her to become the Victorian society’s ideal woman, instead assisting her uncle in the macabre practice of forensic medicine. A string of unsolved, gruesome murders against young women ensue, causing Wadsworth’s family to fear for her safety as she sneaks out late at night to uncover the mysteries for herself. Little does she expect the case to take a turn for the worst as her family’s reputation is put in jeopardy, the list of suspects grows and she finds herself working together with an exceptionally charming, intelligent and witty partner by the name of Thomas Cresswell.
“Stalking Jack the Ripper” is the novel that has rekindled my passion for reading. After years of reading nothing but textbooks, articles and research papers, a historical horror novel that puts a story behind an unsolved mystery is absolutely mind-blowing. There is never a dull moment throughout the entire book – you have no idea what to expect next. The suspicions you form in your head as you go along with Audrey and Thomas on their investigations are completely ruined by the smallest turn of events. It’s also a book I felt connected with specifically, as the protagonist is Indian-British. The portrayal of diverse characters in such a time period is a great addition.
The actual substance of the novel is incredible. From the first chapter, the immersive style Maniscalco incorporates in her writing teleports you to the 1800s. You can practically imagine yourself amongst the emerging inventors, British aristocrats and the like. Her use of images, varying fonts and the idea of “handwritten letters” bring life to the book and separate it from the label of a stereotypical novel.
Furthermore, the variety of genres Maniscalco subtly associates with the plot are phenomenal: historical fiction, mystery, thriller, romance, drama.
“Stalking Jack the Ripper” is a breath of fresh air when it comes to the cliché type of novels being published as of late – there are no romantic, heart-wrenching storylines that leave you in tears. This novel teleports you right into its setting and keeps you hooked from beginning to end.