Review of Escaping Houdini by Kerri Maniscalco



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 strange and 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?

This is the third instalment in the Stalking Jack the Ripper series by Keri Maniscalco featuring the crime solving duo of Audrey-Rose and Thomas. Though not normally a fan of historical fiction I picked this series up based on rave reviews and boy am I glad I did!

Let me just start off by saying that Audrey-Rose is a fantastic character. Keri manages to get the perfect balance between crime solver and society belle that makes her such a believable character. I love her inner dialogue and the way she doesn’t shy away from the gruesome parts of crime solving. Shes such a strong female character which, luckily, are becoming more and more prevalent in YA fiction these days.

Thomas Cresswell is Audrey-Roses swoon worthy crime fighting partner and a character I certainly didn’t hesitate in falling in love with. Hes the profiler, think criminal minds, to Audrey-Roses hard science approach and they make for the perfect pair. Their romance makes for an amazing sub-plot especially with it being almost forbidden to have a relationship outside of marriage at the time.

I enjoyed the premise of the book, a moonlight carnival with a secret, led by the mysterious and charming Mephistopheles get put under scrutiny when gruesome murders begin happening based around tarot cards. Mephistopheles, himself is an interesting character, he is one of the few people who truly effect’s Audrey-Rose and this led to some slight tension in her relationship with Thomas.

The only downfall to this book was Its predictability. In the first two books I was gripped until the very end, having my suspicions, but never being sure who the murderer was. However, I worked this one out half way through the novel and spent the rest of it waiting for the characters to figure it out. Despite this I still raced through until the end wanting to see the characters thought processes and their deductions, which is one of the things I enjoy about this series.

This book was a 4.5/5 for me! I love the world and characters that Maniscalco writes and will definitely be picking up the fourth book in the series which she has recently announced will be the last. I will almost surely have some Audrey-Rose and Thomas withdrawal symptoms when the series ends!



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