STALKING JACK THE RIPPER
It's Unpopular Opinion Time.
Stalking Jack the Ripper is what I like to call a "high hype" book. Everyone on Instagram and Goodreads love it, swear and swoon by it, etc, etc., and I can't resist reading a high hype book. I have to know if the masses are right or if I'm in the minority (again). But here's the thing: I'm not a huge fan of whodunit books. I don't particularly like it when I guess who the villain is in the first few chapters and then turn out to be right. But with the high hype surrounding this one, I had high hopes that I'd be led through twists and turns, constantly guessing who might turn out to be Jack the Ripper, and hopefully be completely wrong in the end. But, alas, this was not the way it turned out.
Audrey Rose does not live up to society–or her family's–standards. She'd much rather be in her uncle's basement, practicing her autopsy skills on cadavers with the insufferable yet brilliant (and handsome) Thomas Cresswell. There's no excitement or intellect in tea time with socialites, thank you very much. And when women are turning up mutilated and murdered, everyone becomes a suspect and Audrey Rose is determined to bring Jack the Ripper to justice.
I was underwhelmed by Stalking Jack the Ripper. It starts off slow and maintains a slow and steady pace, the thrill really only picking up in the last twenty (maybe less?) pages. There's more thrill in Thomas and Audrey Rose's relationship than there is in the mystery behind Jack the Ripper, which I'm let down by. Do I want romance? Of course I do. But I also want to second guess myself when I think I know who the villain is and read on the edge of my seat, wondering who flayed and murdered these poor women. Instead, I find myself simultaneously annoyed with Audrey Rose's emotional outbursts and glad that she does what she wants against her father's wishes. The most interesting character by far is Thomas Cresswell, who oscillates between being brilliant and closed off and human with feelings.
I pushed through this one, and I'll likely read the next in the series to see if it gets better (I always give the second book a chance to outdo the first). But in my unpopular opinion, Stalking Jack the Ripper isn't worth the hype. It's not riddled with mystery, it doesn't keep you up at night wondering what will happen, it doesn't have characters that drive any strong emotions in you as you read. It doesn't have the twists and turns of a brilliant thriller, it's just interesting enough to keep you awake and reading to the end.