by Kerri Maniscalco
Series: Stalking Jack the Ripper, Book 2
Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Horror, Romance
Release Date: September 19, 2017
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo
My Rating: ★★★★☆
Hunting Prince Dracula (HPD) was another lovely installment to the Stalking Jack the Ripper (SJtR) series. HPD is a little longer, so it’s a bit less overpriced, but I still think this series are too expensive for eBooks. If my review sparks your interest, check HPD out from a library or borrow it from a friend.
Once again, Ms. Maniscalco wrote a story with two endings. First there’s the ending to the Impaler mystery, then there’s the actual ending to the book. This time, the second ending includes an epilogue, so, in some ways, you could say there are three endings.
Click to read major spoilers.
Let’s start with the first ending. I can’t say I was any more surprised that Anastasia is the villain of HPD than I was that Nathaniel was the villain of SJtR. If anything, the attempted misdirection in this book is even more obvious than the last. Far too much attention is paid to Nicolae, Daciana, and Ileana. Not to mention the extra attention given to the corpse’s blond hair.
What did surprise me, however, was Anastasia’s connection to Countess Báthory. That was an interesting touch, as well as a fairly plausible reason for Anastasia’s delusions.
And while I’m on the topic of lineages, Thomas’ relationship to Dracula surprised me as well. I’m curious to know what other secrets he’s hiding.
Continuing with the “second/third ending,” I felt Nicolae’s apology to Audrey Rose was well written and very classy. However, as with Superintendent Blackburn’s story line in SJtR, Nicolae’s story line didn’t seem necessary. The book could have been just as complex without the addition of his (ultimately purposeless) animosity. If Ms. Maniscalco wanted an overt antagonist, she could have just as easily made him take offense to Audrey Rose’s comments. There wasn’t really any reason to set him up as a suspect or have him believe Audrey Rose to be the killer.
The epilogue leads us into book 3 quite well. I’ve got to give Ms. Maniscalco credit for sneaking in a reference to her next book, Escaping from Houdini, earlier in HPD, in Liza’s letter. I can only assume Audrey Rose and Thomas will need to save Liza in book 3.
The sexual tension between Audrey Rose and Thomas is significantly more apparent in HPD. Audrey Rose’s reactions to it seem plausible enough. I do wish the ending would have left things a bit more definitive between them, though.
The grand evolutionary arc of their friendship (minus the bumps along the road) is great. Their comfort with and trust in each other matures nicely throughout the series, overcoming many obstacles.
I enjoyed the inclusion of Daciana’s relationship with Ileana and Audrey Rose’s reactions to it. It seems ultimately unimportant to the story, for now at least, but it’s always nice to see multiple types of relationships portrayed in books without unnecessary fan-fare
Overall, I enjoyed the story, and look forward to reading book three. It’s been a fun series so far.
About the Author
Kerri Maniscalco grew up in a semi-haunted house outside NYC where her fascination with gothic settings began. In her spare time she reads everything she can get her hands on, cooks all kinds of food with her family and friends, and drinks entirely too much tea while discussing life’s finer points with her cats.
Her first novel in this series, Stalking Jack the Ripper, debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. It incorporates her love of forensic science and unsolved history.
Disclaimer: This review is based on an eBook I purchased from Amazon on December 10, 2018.