Escaping from Houdini by Kerri Maniscalco is a spooky story I have been meaning to read for a while now. The concept of this third instalment in the Stalking Jack the Ripper series feels fresh, and I really enjoyed the setting. However, I found it more difficult to connect with the main character, and I wasn’t a fan of all the drama in the book. Despite this, the series is so out of my comfort zone, and I’m glad I gave it a chance.Title: Escaping From Houdini (Stalking Jack the Ripper #3)
Series: Stalking Jack the Ripper #3
Author: Kerri Maniscalco
Publisher: Jimmy Patterson
Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
Publication Date: September 18, 2018
Audrey Rose Wadsworth and her partner-in-crime-investigation, Thomas Cresswell, are en route to New York to help solve another blood-soaked mystery. Embarking on a week-long voyage across the Atlantic on the opulent RMS Etruria, they’re delighted to discover a traveling troupe of circus performers, fortune tellers, and a certain charismatic young escape artist entertaining the first-class passengers nightly.
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?
Review: Escaping From Houdini
This book follows Audrey Rose and Thomas as they try to catch a killer in a new setting: a cruise ship. On the ship is a group of circus performers, and tension rises as women are brutally murdered after every performance. I loved the suspense that comes with setting, as the characters are stuck in the middle of the Atlantic with a murderer on the loose, and the author does an excellent job creating a creepy atmosphere. This book feels different from the other works in the series, which I mostly enjoyed.
❀ Audrey Rose is not as likeable
Initially, I loved Audrey Rose, but I didn’t like how she treats Thomas in this book. She and Thomas make such a great team, and I found it a bit out of character how she fell so quickly for Mephistopheles despite having a boy who truly cares about her and supports her by her side. I love characters who make mistakes, but I felt like in this case, these mistakes are unrealistic and forced. Audrey Rose is still intelligent and headstrong, but she is not as likeable as I remember.
❀ A lot of drama for a thriller
Another aspect of the book which disappointed me is the focus on relationship drama. I didn’t care much for this as I’m not a fan of books based on bad communication/keeping secrets. Because of all the drama with the love triangle, I felt like the pacing dragged until the end of the book. This wasn’t what I was expecting from a thriller, especially after the previous books in the series were so fast-paced.
❀ An Enjoyable Historical Thriller
That being said, Escaping From Houdini by Kerri Maniscalco is still an original mystery that I enjoyed for the most part. The troupe of circus performers and the setting in particular are highlights. Unfortunately, the main character is less likeable in this instalment of Stalking Jack the Ripper, and the book has too much of a focus on relationship drama. However, for those who enjoy historical thrillers, this is the perfect series for Halloween.