I first heard about this book on booktube, and it immediately piqued my interest. A young woman in Victorian England studying forensic medicine, sneaking away at night to work in her uncle’s lab dissecting corpses, who sets about investigating the infamous Jack the Ripper serial killer who is plaguing London at night. It took me forever to find a copy, but once I managed to read it, I could not put it down.
First of all, the plot is tightly woven and moves along quickly. There wasn’t a single part of the book that bored me, but rather there was always something happening or something that would become relevant later on. I loved that the mystery unfolded in a way that makes sense in the context of the protagonist, Audrey, being a student forensic science. I was worried that the identity of Maniscalco’s Jack the Ripper would be easy to figure out, that the protagonist wouldn’t be that great at investigating, or that the mystery would actually end up taking a back seat to other storylines such as a love interest or Audrey’s family drama. Instead, Audrey is genuinely intelligent, a quick thinker, and I really enjoyed following her footsteps for the book. I was genuinely surprised by the plot twists, and was kept guessing until the last moment.
I also loved the secondary storylines in this novel. I loved reading about Audrey balancing her practice of forensic science and macabre investigations with being a Victorian lady. The parts of the book that dealt with ‘normal’ society weren’t boring and didn’t feel detached from the main plot, but rather were woven seamlessly into the main plot and helped to flesh out Audrey as a character and make her even more relatable and enjoyable. There was also a brilliant slow-burn romantic subplot, and what I loved the best about it was that it was just that – a subplot. It didn’t overpower the central mystery, or divert the story away for extended periods of time, and added to the book rather than distracting me from its core.
This book didn’t disappoint at all. It was fun from start to finish, and was that perfect blend of dark, macabre, gore, and a fun, exciting mystery adventure, with romance and a witty, clever female protagonist. It reminded me a lot of The Dark Days Club, which I also loved, apart from the fact that it was historical fiction rather than fantasy, and I would recommend you read it for a creepy but fun read!