cover image Ripper


Stefan Petrucha. Philomel, $17.99 (432p) ISBN 978-0-399-25524-3

Petrucha (Split) breathes new life into the oft-visited Jack the Ripper genre, transporting the killer to New York City and using some well-chosen historical figures to flesh out the tale. In 1895, seven years after the Ripper’s killing spree in England, 14-year-old Carver Young’s place in an orphanage is threatened due to financial crises, and he becomes apprenticed to a Pinkerton agent, Albert Hawking. Carver gets caught up in the politics of the agency and the rise of a mysterious murderer in New York City, one whose motif resembles that of the famous killer, and whose writing style implies that he might be Carver’s long-missing father. Along with fellow orphan (and aspiring journalist) Delia, Carver investigates the case and his own background. Petrucha’s story hits the ground running and doesn’t let up, the brisk pace making the inevitable twists effective; he also incorporates some fun steampunk-style gadgetry (an author’s note discusses his choices). Appearances by the Pinkertons, the Ripper, and then New York City police commissioner Teddy Roosevelt add flair to the historical setting. Ages 12–up. Agent: Joe Veltre, the Veltre Company. (Mar.)