Escaping from Houdini (Stalking Jack the Ripper #3) by Kerri Maniscalco

Friends, I am pretty disappointed in this book. The magic of this series for me is the investigating duo, unfortunately I was left wanting for this dynamic in this series installment.

About the Book

Publisher: James Patterson Presents  |  Release Date: September 18, 2018  |  Pages: 416
Genre: YA, Mystery  |  Format: eBook and Audiobook  |  Source: Library

Escaping from Houdini coverAudrey Rose Wadsworth and her partner-in-crime-investigation, Thomas Cresswell, are en route to New York to help solve another blood-soaked mystery. Embarking on a week-long voyage across the Atlantic on the opulent RMS Etruria, they’re delighted to discover a traveling troupe of circus performers, fortune tellers, and a certain charismatic young escape artist entertaining the first-class passengers nightly.

But then, privileged young women begin to go missing without explanation, and a series of brutal slayings shocks the entire ship. The disturbing influence of the Moonlight Carnival pervades the decks as the murders grow ever more freakish, with nowhere to escape except the unforgiving sea.

It’s up to Audrey Rose and Thomas to piece together the gruesome investigation as even more passengers die before reaching their destination. But with clues to the next victim pointing to someone she loves, can Audrey Rose unravel the mystery before the killer’s horrifying finale?

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My Review

*sighs* As much as it pains me to say it… I was disappointed with this book. In terms of the mystery’s plotting, Maniscalco did an incredible job crafting a good mystery that kept me guessing. But what I enjoy most about the series is the characters, and I was left frustrated.

“I inquire once more, which will you lose before the week is through? Your heart? Your head? Perhaps, you will lose your life, your very soul to this magical traveling show.”

I still adore Thomas Cresswell. Probably even more after this book for his unwavering support of Audrey Rose, never wanting to force her into anything. To be quite frank, she doesn’t deserve him. I think the minor annoyances that I felt with her in Hunting Prince Dracula (namely how mean she is to Thomas as she struggles with her grief and PTSD), she seems to have undergone a personality change in this book. Was she always this dense? Did I just ignore it?

“Sometimes we choose not to see things we know are true, simply because we wish to keep the fantasy of what could have been alive.”

I’ll still finish the series, but I am really disappointed with how flippant to Thomas’ feelings Audrey Rose is and how manufactured the whole plot felt. Thomas was barely present, and that made me realize that I don’t like Audrey Rose much as a main character after the first book. It’s hard to root for someone who makes questionable decisions that felt very contrived for the plot and out of character.

With Thomas being absent in this book, so too is my much loved investigative dynamic between he and Audrey Rose. This has made me realize that much of the sparkle and draw for me is the dissecting and sleuthing, the investigating and the banter. I enjoy the romance, but I feel like the story is kind of being overshadowed by it in a way? Like I am here for the crime-fighting duo who also happen to be in a relationship, and I was left wanting here.

⬇️ Click here for minor spoilers and gripes ⬇️

We have a love triangle. Which in and of itself is fine: I enjoy a little bit of angst and the pull. But I really don’t like how this played out. It felt like the whole plot was to prove Audrey Rose loves Thomas, but in the process she continues to lie to him, hurting him.

I didn’t buy the whole need for her deal with Mephistopheles, either. For as much as she wants her own freedom, she sure is willing to cage her beloved cousin. She may not be as good at deduction as Thomas, but the deal she made was bizarre and anyone would have noticed… and it hurt that she hid so much from Thomas when they promised to be honest with each other. Plus, Thomas was barely in the book and that made me sad.

Audiobook notes: As with the prior books in the series, Nicola Barber did an amazing job; I honestly think the audiobook was the best part of this reading experience.

CONTENT WARNINGS: death, gore, murder, sexism

🤝 Group buddy read with Destiny and Shantall as part of #Stalkalong.

Stalking Jack the Ripper Review  Hunting Prince Dracula Review


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

spacer_wLet’s go on another adventure together!

17 Comments

  1. Jade

    October 15, 2019 at 1:23 AM

    I loved the first book, but haven’t gotten to the rest yet. I hope I won’t be as disappointed as you were !

    1. Kal

      October 23, 2019 at 11:08 AM

      I really hope you have a better time with this one; I enjoyed book 1 and LOVED book 2… this one was a letdown

  2. Evelyn

    October 15, 2019 at 8:18 AM

    I totally agree Audrey doesn’t deserve Thomas, he is way to good for her!

    (www.evelynreads.com)

    1. Kal

      October 23, 2019 at 11:10 AM

      SHE IS SO MEAN TO HIM! I am so irrationally angry still and it’s been over a month since I read the book

  3. Mere

    October 15, 2019 at 5:03 PM

    I totally agree with this — I said as much in my review as well on GR. This one was a HUGE letdown from the previous two. I keep hesitating about reading the 4th because of this one.

    1. Kal

      October 23, 2019 at 11:11 AM

      HARD SAME, Mere. *sobs* A few of my friends have hated book 4, so I am really considering just not finishing the series to salvage some of the good feelings I have left.

  4. Sophia @ Bookwyrming Thoughts

    October 16, 2019 at 3:20 PM

    Oh noooooo sorry to hear you were disappointed in this one, Kal! Characters for me is very important, but it’s a bummer that it seems the romance is overshadowing the plot. 🙁 I’ve yet to read the first book in the series though, but I feel like from what I’ve heard about Audrey Rose from others, I might end up hating the book? I don’t know, honestly.

    1. Kal

      October 23, 2019 at 11:16 AM

      It is so weird because I liked the first two books a lot and the characters are my favorite part? But the choices Audrey Rose makes just feel… weird. I want more investigating and autopsies, with the side of kissing too. Oof.

  5. Veronika @ Wordy and Whimsical

    October 17, 2019 at 12:46 PM

    You’ve just described everything I felt while reading this – sadly, I was also disappointed (perhaps, even more so) by the final book, but I do hope you’ll have better luck with that one. 🙁 As for this one, I’m not sure about Audrey Rose – she seemed to not care about Thomas’ feelings whatsoever, and then somehow she was still not to blame for this? Girl, you’ve JUST agreed to be in a relationship for real, perhaps flirting with someone else isn’t the way to go? I get sooo frustrated when authors seem to think they need to add unnecessary, out of characters relationship drama to novels – I think readers would be just as interested in an established couple. Also, what you said about Audrey’s treatment of her cousin… man, that pissed me off. Audrey is all “women deserve to make their own decisions” as long as it suits her, but when it’s another woman whose decision Audrey doesn’t agree with… well, the rules are suddenly different. And I totally get that Audrey was worried about her cousin!! But she should have tried (harder) to talk to her, compromise etc. instead of going behind her back with a man who she’s just met, smh. Sorry for the long comment, it’s just that I could legit complain ages about this series – it started off so well, and then really went downhill for me. 🙁 Great review!

    1. Kal

      October 23, 2019 at 11:21 AM

      Thanks so much for your comment, it makes me feel a lot better to know that I am not alone in my feelings of disappointment. Like, I get it. She’s a teenager and teens make mistakes (heck I almost cheated on my hs sweetheart because I was curious), so part of me is annoyed at myself for being so up in the arms about her acting her age. But I think the issue is Thomas is understanding? Like there is no conflict or challenging to how she is making him feel, and I think that is the root of a lot of my misery.

      Sorry that book 4 was equally disappointing for you… I don’t even know if I want to read it because I’ve seen a few reviews from friends with similar feelings on this one…

  6. Lauren

    October 19, 2019 at 2:35 PM

    ive no intention of reading this series – just doesnt seem like my cuppa tea

    BUT this was a really well thoughout review and i enjoyed reading it

    1. Kal

      October 23, 2019 at 11:30 AM

      I wholeheartedly support your decision, I think it is great to know what books you won’t like and not waste your time on them. It is so easy to succumb to hype, yanno?

  7. Kristi

    October 24, 2019 at 4:48 PM

    This is a great review. I loved all the books and adore Audrey Rose and Thomas. But I’m not sure how I would be with them apart. I definitely love the mysteries. And I know I love Thomas by himself. Pretty sure I gave all the books 5 stars, but I’ve seen others that hate the books and won’t read past book 1. I guess it’s really hit or miss. Most of the negative I’ve heard from others was about Audrey Rose though.

    1. Kal

      October 26, 2019 at 3:26 PM

      I really enjoyed the first and second books (even though I found the murderer super obvious in the first book), so I was so bummed when this book was such a disappointing read for me. I LOVE Thomas so much? I think maybe I feel overly protective of him and maybe that’s why I am being all pissy at Audrey Rose for acting like a teenager. I hope the final book isn’t a disappointment for me; really glad you love the series though and thanks for your comment!

  8. Haley

    October 28, 2019 at 11:49 AM

    I really didn’t like Audrey at all in ‘Stalking Jack the Ripper’ and had so many issues with her that I decided not to read the rest of the series unless it pops up in my library. I thought Thomas was okay, and I feel like if I do read more it will be because I’m genuinely interested in him. I do appreciate how much honesty you always put in your reviews and I truly hope that the next book is a great read so that it can cancel out this one lol

    1. Kal

      November 6, 2019 at 2:26 PM

      I honestly am SO SURPRISED that I didn’t notice how ugh Audrey Rose is until this book (well, she was a little annoying in book 2 but I ignored it). I am about to start a buddy read or the last book… it shall be interesting to say the least haha.

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