Capturing the Devil
- Author: Kerri Maniscalco
- Genre: YA Historical Fiction
- Publication Date: September 10, 2019
- Publisher: JIMMY Patterson
- Series: Stalking Jack the Ripper #4
CONTENT WARNING: gore, blood, murder, mention of abortion
She swore she couldn’t live without him. The devil is pleased to comply.
Audrey Rose Wadsworth and Thomas Cresswell have arrived in America, a bold, brash land bursting with life. But like their beloved London, the city of Chicago has dark secrets. When the two attend the spectacular World’s Fair, they uncover a sickening truth—the once-in-a-lifetime event is tainted with reports of missing people and unsolved murders.
Audrey Rose and Thomas begin their investigations only to find themselves facing a serial killer unlike any they’ve encountered before. Identifying him is one thing, but capturing him—especially within the infamous Murder Hotel he built as a confusing and terrifying torture lair—is another.
Will Audrey Rose—together with her true love at last—see her final mystery to its end? Or will she fall prey to her most cunning adversary yet?
I’ve been both anticipating and dreading this last book in the series. Anticipating returning to this amazing world that I’ve missed, but dreading it because once I finish it, I can’t ever read it for the first time again. You know what I mean?
So in this final installment, so much is happening. Audrey Rose and Thomas are in America, fresh off the horrific boat voyage from England and hot on the trail of a killer (of course). They’re ready to declare their love officially, but there’s a tiny problem. They can’t exactly get married yet because there’s a snag preventing it from happening. Okay, it’s not a tiny problem. It’s a huge problem. But have no fear, they have a plan to manage it. And they have some help from a few different sources.
The biggest problem is this killer they’re hunting. They follow the trail from New York to Chicago, where the wondrous World’s Fair is being held. It was amazing to see the World’s Fair through the eyes of that time period, especially things like electricity, which we rely on and take for granted on a daily basis. But the murder investigation had me on the edge of my seat, and terrified for everyone involved.
Audrey Rose always has my heart, but I loved her even more in this story. After the events on the boat, she has a disability and walks with a cane. It provided some additional challenges for her, and she struggles to adjust in the beginning. I could totally understand this, and when she starts talking about learning how to live like this, I related so hard:
“I wasn’t used to taking careful note of each of my movements, and found the learning of it to be tedious at best. Though my body was a stern professor—it let me know when it had had enough and would continue teaching the same lesson until I became an apt pupil. I must learn to pace myself or suffer the consequences.”
She also faces some internal struggles as well. Her love of forensics causes her additional fears, and she’s concerned that there’s an unnatural darkness in her. I couldn’t help but wonder if it had something to do with a combination of what had happened with her brother and the strict social mores of the times, since today she’d be viewed as an overly motivated career-focused overachiever:
“Thomas might be Dracula’s heir, but I was the one who craved blood. I was the one who enjoyed sinking my blades into dead flesh more than I had any right to. Sometimes, if I gave in to my secret fears, I worried there was something gnarled and twisted in me.”
Thomas, on his part, is a total dreamboat. He’s smart and charming and thoughtful and handsome and has a wicked sense of humor. But I think my favorite part about him is that he’s a staunch feminist before that was even a thing. His sister is a lesbian, and he’s incredibly supportive of her, as well as encouraging of Audrey Rose’s insistence on being her own master. He has no interest in tying her down, or telling her what to do, or anything like that. After he stands up for female characters, Audrey responds to him, and he replies with:
“‘I delight in pointing out areas where man has failed, even if it changes only one mind. Or if it changes none. At least I feel as though I’m fighting on the side of women, not against them. Everyone needs to take responsibility for their own failures.’”
I flew through the story, since I couldn’t put it down. All I wanted to do was lay around and read and find out what happened next. Much of the time, especially towards the end of the story, I was on the edge of my seat, hoping that Audrey Rose and her crew would triumph. The amount of historical detail that went into this story, and the whole series, was incredible! I especially loved that despite Audrey Rose’s most unladylike (for the times) focus on forensics, she still loves to get dressed in beautiful clothes and jewelry. She was truly a woman born ahead of her times, and definitely someone I’d love to know in real life.
People who have sat around with me while I’m reading, especially when there’s a surprising reveal, a shocking plot twist, or an unexpected event often look up in alarm when I gasp audibly. The gasp factor is directly related to the number of times I audibly gasp during a reading, and there isn’t an upper limit.
Gasp Factor: 12
Categories: Book Review