Maniscalco’s debut isn’t for the squeamish: it starts with 17-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth deeply immersed in opening up and analyzing a corpse under the supervision of her Uncle Jonathan, with no detail or scalpel cut spared. Audrey Rose is a proper Victorian with the unladylike aspirations of understanding crime scenes, blood spatter, the brutality of murder, and exactly how a killer tears into his victim. Luckily for her, Jack the Ripper is on the hunt, and Audrey Rose—alongside Thomas, a handsome aspiring coroner—is determined to catch him. In taking on the subject of this famous 19th-century serial killer, Maniscalco is treading well-worn fictional territory, but she has created a serious, sharp-minded, and forward-thinking protagonist in Audrey Rose, whose fearlessness in the face of the decaying and the dead—while still navigating the social norms of the day—will endear her to readers looking for an engaging historical thriller. Abundant red herrings and a dash of romance round out this gruesome but engrossing story. Ages 15–up. Agent: Barbara Poelle, Irene Goodman Literary. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 06/13/2016 Release date: 09/20/2016 Genre: Children's
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