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