Capturing the Devil (Stalking Jack the Ripper #4) by Kerri Maniscalco

One last adventure with Thomas Cresswell… and thankfully I didn’t hate it quite as much as many of my friends did.

About the Book

Publisher: James Patterson Presents  |  Release Date: September 10, 2019  |  Pages: 453
Genre: YA, Mystery  |  Format: Hardcover & Audiobook  |  Source: Purchased

Capturing the Devil coverIn the shocking finale to the bestselling series that began with Stalking Jack the Ripper, Audrey Rose and Thomas are on the hunt for the depraved, elusive killer known as the White City Devil. A deadly game of cat-and-mouse has them fighting to stay one step ahead of the brilliant serial killer—or see their fateful romance cut short by unspeakable tragedy.

Audrey Rose Wadsworth and Thomas Cresswell have landed in America, a bold, brash land unlike the genteel streets of London they knew. But like London, the city of Chicago hides its dark secrets well. When the two attend the spectacular World’s Fair, they find the once-in-a-lifetime event tainted with reports of missing people and unsolved murders.

Determined to help, Audrey Rose and Thomas begin their investigations, only to find themselves facing a serial killer unlike any they’ve heard of before. Identifying him is one thing, but capturing him—and getting dangerously lost in the infamous Murder Hotel he constructed as a terrifying torture device—is another.

Will Audrey Rose and Thomas see their last mystery to the end—together and in love—or will their fortunes finally run out when their most depraved adversary makes one final, devastating kill?

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My Review

Despite my deep dislike for Escaping from Houdini, which seems to grow stronger each day, I was really hopeful and excited to see how this series would end. While I am not as disappointed in Capturing the Devil as I expected to be (I think lowering my expectations may have saved me here), I am left feeling rather conflicted about my thoughts overall. There are things I loved about this book, but also things I didn’t.

The Good

Sir Isaac Mewton. Need I say more?

I absolutely adore the relationship between Eliza and Audrey Rose. Their banter and friendship give me life. Throughout the series, Audrey Rose has slowly been building her found family and it is nice to see her coming into her own, finding her own place at the fringes of society. She can wear pretty dresses and host extravagant birthday parties, but she also fights to give a voice to the victims of murder in a time when the profession is frowned upon by polite society. It was refreshing to see her confidence grow and be taken seriously in America.

While you can’t really call the romance between Audrey Rose and Thomas slow-burn, the book finally gets a little steamy (but tasteful and no on-page sex described). The care Maniscalco gives to their blossoming relationship, which has always toed the lines of what was acceptable for the times, over the course of the series is exciting. I also appreciated that consent is featured and normalized.

“We humans could not help loving our monsters.”

Creepy investigations are back, my friends! The whole murder mystery aboard the RMS Ertruria wasn’t as engaging, which bums me out because the macabre investigating duo is precisely what draws me to this series. I don’t tend to read the synopsis before reading a book, so the investigations in America leading to the Murder Hotel in Chicago was a delightful surprise for me.

“I long to live in a world where equal treatment is not something in need of commending.”

I found the overall plotting for the series, the investigations, and the travels to be incredibly well done. Having read all four books now, you can see the connections and the overall theory that Maniscalco wanted to explore with these infamous murder cases. And while I know some readers didn’t enjoy the murderer in this book, I actually enjoyed it and the connections.

The Disappointing (for me)

The pacing for this book was dreadfully uneven. The first and last 100 pages had me on the edge of my seat, blissfully engaged and eager to continue reading. Unfortunately, the middle 300-pages languished with unnecessary drama and obstacles, detracting from the murder investigations.

“The devil was a monster, but I would become his nightmare.”

Speaking of obstacles, we need to talk about Lord Cresswell. Please read my rant in the spoiler at the bottom of the post. In my opinion, the book would have been a lot better had this entire subplot been removed from the book. We didn’t need it and it dragged the plot. And in the end, it meant nothing in deus ex machina fashion.

Overall, this is a satisfying end to the Stalking Jack the Ripper series, even though its pacing suffers from what I consider to be an unnecessary subplot. Thomas is still charming as hell and honestly boyfriend goals, and Audrey Rose has grown so much in the course of the series. This installment has the macabre horror I found lacking in the last book satisfying my itch for murder and mayhem.

CONTENT WARNINGS: death, gore, murder, sexism

🤝 This was a buddy read with my lovely friends Destiny and Reg!

Stalking Jack the Ripper Review  Hunting Prince Dracula Review  Escaping from Houdini Review

SPOILERS BELOW!

Click for My Rant

Thomas’ father, Lord Cresswell, has been absent during the course of the series thus far. So color me surprised when he suddenly shows an interest in his son’s life, or rather, his son’s desire to marry someone other than a match he tried to make prior to Thomas meeting Audrey Rose. Surprise! Thomas’ betrothed shows up to their wedding last minute, brandishing a letter with Thomas’ signature promising betrothal.

I might have been a little forgiving about this had the whole problem been rendered moot at the end of the book. I’d still be pissed about how it affected the pacing of the book, but the fact that as soon as Audrey Rose and Thomas follow the murderer to Chicago the problem essentially solved itself at the end of the book? Fuck. That. Thomas’ father threatens to disown him, as well as out Daciana and Iliana’s relationship should Thomas not comply with the betrothal to Miss Whitehall, and at the end of the book everyone is just happy? What?

It’s needlessly dramatic and I don’t think it does anything for the characters. Like there’s no character growth that came from this; I really dislike torturing characters for the sake of it, it’s one of my pet peeves. And the fact that Lord Cresswell goes unchallenged at the end grinds my gears.

 


Are you a fan of the Stalking Jack the Ripper series? Have you read Capturing the Devil yet? If so, what are your thoughts?

spacer_wLet’s go on another adventure together!

18 Comments

  1. Sophie

    December 10, 2019 at 3:17 AM

    That’s a series I still have to try. That being said I loath unnecessary drama!

    1. Kal

      December 22, 2019 at 10:20 AM

      Unnecessary drama is legit my BIGGEST pet peeve with stories, along with conflict that could easily be resolved if people freaking talk to one another. I don’t mind other tropes that get ragged on, but those two plot devices often ruin a reading experience for me!

  2. Evelyn

    December 10, 2019 at 4:30 AM

    The last two books in this series seem to get such mixed reviews ahah! Personally I really enjoyed these last two books, but I can really see why people dont!
    Great review!

    (www.evelynreads.com)

    1. Kal

      December 22, 2019 at 10:22 AM

      I’ve never seen the tail-end of a series be so polarizing, to be honest! I am so glad you enjoyed the books though — and I am glad I didn’t hate this one as much as I expected to lol!

  3. Haley

    December 11, 2019 at 2:02 AM

    Reading your review leaves me with some hope now that I may someday continue this series! I just feel like Thomas got the short end of the stick in the beginning, but hearing Audrey develops…it really gives me hope, Idk why I have such a strong dislike for her because, in theory, I should love her. And I do love the darker vibe to the first book. Definitely going on the maybe list! Great review as always!

    1. Kal

      December 22, 2019 at 10:34 AM

      It is so funny you mention this because I didn’t pick up on Audrey Rose’s selfishness in the first book… but it slowly became more and more obvious as the series carried on. I think if I were to re-read Stalking Jack the Ripper now, I wouldn’t enjoy it so much because of that, but I was so swept away by the macabre nature of the story (and how predictable the twist was). But the series & Audrey Rose does get redeemed a little bit… worth borrowing from the library to finish imo!

  4. Mere @ Lore of the Books

    December 11, 2019 at 5:51 AM

    You already know my opinion on the Houdini book. I’ve tried blocking it out. I’m still nervous going into this one, but I will read it at some point!

    1. Kal

      December 22, 2019 at 10:44 AM

      “Tried blocking it out” sounds about right, that book was a trashfire. It helped to go into this one with the LOWEST OF EXPECTATIONS. I actually really enjoyed the book until the spoiler thing happened lol

  5. AhanaRao

    December 11, 2019 at 6:56 AM

    Loved your review Kal!! I’ve seen this series around a LOT but I never actually got around to reading them. Have you noticed that recently pacing seems to be a big issue with some of the books this last half of the year? The unevenness especially! It’s great then it drags and then the climax is fast again. I feel you, I suffer greatly and go into slumps when the pacing becomes this way.

    Oof the unnecessary drama. I tell you, it’s the bane of a book. I need to hear more about Sir Issac Mewton! HahahH. Oooh is the book a little dark (basing off of the content warning it seems so) ?

    1. Kal

      December 22, 2019 at 10:53 AM

      Thank you, Ahana! This is such a beloved series and one that I have a love/hate relationship with??? Really enjoyed the first two books, loathed the third, and well… this one was enjoyable enough if not for that drama bull! The series is pretty dark though — autopsies and murder investigations, but that is what drew me in~! (Sir Isaac Mewton is a cat and it’s the best name lmao)

      Now that you mention it, pacing has been a huge thing for me this year! I’ve been slumpy so much of 2019 in result, or maybe my slump is making me perceive uneven pacing?!!?!?

      1. AhanaRao

        December 23, 2019 at 6:31 AM

        You’re most welcome! I really need to start this series! Hahah Sir Isaac Mewton already has my heart.
        RIGHT ?????????? Oh maybe that’s possible too? I can’t tell which is affecting which.

  6. Veronika @ Wordy and Whimsical

    December 14, 2019 at 1:46 PM

    I’m happy you enjoyed this one, Kal! I have to admit I may have liked it less than the third book – at least I properly read that, while this I skimmed through really fast. I definitely agree with you about the spoiler – I loath it when the characters (and with it, let’s be honest, the readers too) are unnecessary tortured. Reading that subplot frustrated me so much, especially because I *hate* that kind of angst in novels, particularly when I’m not prepared for it, AND when it serves no purpose. Also, it felt so icky to add the threat against Daciana and Iliana on top of that – I’m done with lgbtq+ characters suffering to add to the main plot that doesn’t even concern them. That was pretty much the part when I was like, “okay, we’re skimming this.” Great review! 🙂

    1. Kal

      December 22, 2019 at 11:39 AM

      I am glad I didn’t hate this book as much as I expected going in… but ugh. Honestly the further I get from reading it, the more the annoying subplot and icky shit with Daciana and Illiana piss me off. While I may have read the whole book, I was angry for a lot of it and my feelings after aren’t that glowing. I am sorry we didn’t like where the series ended, such a fucking bummer.

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  8. Kelly | Another Book in the Wall

    December 21, 2019 at 11:07 AM

    Fantastic review, Kal!! I’m glad that this one wasn’t *quite* as bad as you feared it would be! I honestly wasn’t very impressed by Escaping From Houdini, so I haven’t felt too much desire to read this one yet. But, I’m sure I’ll get to it eventually. The uneven pacing does sound like it could be bothersome, but I’m glad that Audrey’s relationships with Eliza and Thomas were still great in this last installment. The spoiler section regarding Thomas sounds like it would drive me INSANE! Hopefully I’ll be able to overlook that when I finally get to this book!

    1. Kal

      December 22, 2019 at 12:11 PM

      Oh goodness, I am definitely glad that the book in some ways redeemed the series for me (EFH was trash) but this is also a book that I get more mad at the more time passes so???? I think knowin about the spoiler ahead of time might help? Because I was legit like “omg I love this it;s great” and then BAM.

  9. Megan

    December 22, 2019 at 1:38 PM

    I really enjoyed these books, but I agree with your points about pacing, and especially the subplot about his father. Like, it didn’t add anything overall, and maybe that was a big part of the disruption of the pacing?? I’m not sure, but I really enjoyed your review!

    1. Kal

      December 31, 2019 at 7:40 PM

      Thank you for your comment Megan, and I am so glad you loved the series overall! In terms of this book, the subplot definitely is what ruined the pacing for me; had that not been present, I would have loved the book.

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