By: Corey Lack
So, when I stumbled upon the novel of Stalking Jack the Ripper, the idea of a novel focused around the attempted capture of one of the most infamous serial killers in history immediately grabbed my interest. Sure, it seemed like there was going to be some romance aspects of the story, but I wasn’t deterred. After all, most stories have a romance subplot and it didn’t exactly ruin the plot. It turns out it was a mistake on my part as, despite the description making me think it was something different, it was not a romance subplot.
The plot focuses on the main character, Audrey Rose Wadsworth, trying to live her life outside of the traditional life of a “gentlewoman,” specifically trying to focus on her own so-called “unladylike” interests. My interest got peaked when I found out that her hobby was forensic science that she learned from her uncle. I got ready for her to use her mind to match wits with the unknown serial killer that was just starting to torment the streets of Whitechapel. I would have loved this being the plot as it would have been unique and dramatic, not to mention it would have laid my fears of a female lead hinting at going into danger only to focus more on the romance of the story to rest.
Then, the uncle’s new assistant, Thomas Cresswell, showed up and my hopes were quickly dashed. The assistant was described as snarky, dark, mysterious, and clearly wealthy. In short, it could not have been more obvious as to what his role would be if there was “POTENTIAL LOVE INTEREST” stamped in big bold letters across the pages. In fact, it was at this point my interest started to wane drastically. The story became focused around Audrey trying to decide how to feel about Thomas rather than the serial killer that they were supposed to be “stalking.”
Somehow, though, every time I was reaching the point of quitting the book entirely, it would then do something interesting enough to draw me back in whether it was a new victim being found or Audrey seemingly being confronted by someone almost as threatening. Let me be clear that this is not a point in the book’s favor. I’m someone that hates to leave books unfinished. It bugs me like nails on a chalkboard, so if I was actually considering on multiple occasions quitting the book, then it should tell you exactly how little I was actually enjoying the story.
So, let me be clear, this story is heavily focused on the romance and feminist subjects. These are not my favorite subjects to read about by far. I don’t mind romance in a story as it can help to develop a character, but when it becomes the core of the story, so much so that the serial killer in the title is actually forgotten. In short, this is a story for those with a great interest in romance and only slight interest in crime stories.