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Stalking Jack the Ripper
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that, as the title suggests, gore, corpses, and suspense abound in Stalking Jack the Ripper, a series debut that also launches James Patterson's jimmy patterson imprint. Victorian Bones-in-the-making Audrey Rose Wadsworth, 17, defies her aristocratic father, religion, and the era's prejudices to dissect and study human corpses under her scientist uncle's guidance. There's some discussion of prostitution and opium addiction; a Frankenstein-like effort to revive the dead is part of the plot. Expect much graphic description of the sights, sounds, textures, and smells of dead bodies and organs. This romp through the foul, dark, and creepy -- with romance on the side -- features lots of positive messages about social justice, using your brain, solving problems, courage, and being true to yourself. Meanwhile, the corpses pile up.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
As STALKING JACK THE RIPPER begins, it's 1888, and a grisly murderer terrorizes London. For aristocratic 17-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth, there's plenty of death and gore closer to home -- since her beloved mother's passing five years earlier, she seeks to reveal death's secrets, specifically by sneaking off to the lab of her scientist uncle to dissect corpses and study their organs. Also, there's his infuriatingly attractive, arrogant, and very much alive assistant. None of these are remotely suitable interests for a wealthy lord's proper daughter. But determined Audrey Rose persists and soon finds herself stalking Jack the Ripper -- while trying to avoid becoming his next victim in the process. As the remains of the killer's victims arrive in the laboratory for dissection, she's determined to use science to bring him to justice. When suspicion falls on one after another of her loved ones, she's conflicted.
Is it any good?
Fans of creepy scenes and Victorian London's dark underbelly will love this gory page-turner and its theory about a famously unsolved murder spree -- but it's not for the squeamish. The first page, which graphically describes each step as the narrator slices into a corpse, is a preview of much to come, and not everyone shares the heroine's fascination with body parts. But along with the relentless gore and gross-outs, there's a suspenseful plot, lots of (sometimes accurate) period detail, and a spirited heroine with lots of appeal as she dodges Victorian propriety to pursue her true calling. Stalking Jack the Ripper is the first book in a planned series by first-time author Kerri Maniscalco.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the titular character of Stalking Jack the Ripper. Had you heard about Jack the Ripper and his crimes before? Why do you think the murders remain unsolved to this day?
Why do you think the subject of trying to revive dead people is such a popular theme? What other examples do you know? Do things ever turn out well?
What other examples can you think of wherein people are kept from their chosen careers or from fun because of their society's gender stereotypes? Did those people think of ways around the problem or just give up?
- Author: Kerri Maniscalco
- Genre: Horror
- Topics: History, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires, Science and Nature
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: jimmy patterson
- Publication date: September 20, 2016
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 14 - 18
- Number of pages: 336
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.