Friday, October 4, 2019

Book Review: Capturing the Devil by Kerri Maniscalco

Title: Capturing the Devil (Stalking Jack the Ripper #4)
Author: Kerri Maniscalco
Publication Date: September 10, 2019
Publisher: JIMMY Patterson
Pages: 453
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Reviews for book 1, book 2, & book 3

In the shocking finale to the bestselling series that began with Stalking Jack the Ripper, Audrey Rose and Thomas are on the hunt for the depraved, elusive killer known as the White City Devil. A deadly game of cat-and-mouse has them fighting to stay one step ahead of the brilliant serial killer---or see their fateful romance cut short by unspeakable tragedy.

Audrey Rose Wadsworth and Thomas Cresswell have landed in America, a bold, brash land unlike the genteel streets of London they knew. But like London, the city of Chicago hides its dark secrets well. When the two attend the spectacular World's Fair, they find the once-in-a-lifetime event tainted with reports of missing people and unsolved murders.

Determined to help, Audrey Rose and Thomas begin their investigations, only to find themselves facing a serial killer unlike any they've heard of before. Identifying him is one thing, but capturing him---and getting dangerously lost in the infamous Murder Hotel he constructed as a terrifying torture device---is another.

Will Audrey Rose and Thomas see their last mystery to the end---together and in love---or will their fortunes finally run out when their most depraved adversary makes one final, devastating kill?

Stalking Jack the Ripper has been an odd series for me. I thought book one was just okay, really liked book two, and liked book three enough to keep reading. Capturing the Devil was also a mixed bag for me. I was so excited for this one because it focused on H.H. Holmes, but that was also kind of its downfall.

Right off the bat, the fourth book in this series is the most romance-heavy by far. The first half of Capturing the Devil revolves almost entirely around Audrey Rose and Cresswell's relationship and potential marriage. While I do really love the relationship between these two, it was strange that a series that has been so mystery focused so far would spend such a huge page count on romance. That being said, I did enjoy them together! I was a bit surprised by Audrey Rose being in such a hurry to marry given her character. (I also didn't realize they'd only known each other five months!)

Aside from the romance, the White City Devil was a blast to read about, to an extent. Although H.H. Holmes is my favorite serial killer (in the most non-morbid way possible), the fact that I knew so much about him made this a bit difficult to read. It was blatantly obvious who the killer was very early on and I knew who victims would be before they were found dead. Knowing a bit about the true story this was based on also made accepting many of the details given by Maniscalco hard to accept. In particular, the timeline was drastically off in a way that made the killer's actions much too unlikely.

I have really enjoyed the murder mysteries in all the previous books in this series, but I think basing this off of a serial killer who we know so much about was a mistake. In real life Jack the Ripper was never caught and the stories in Hunting Prince Dracula and Escaping From Houdini were mostly fictional. There are just too many things to compare this one too and I had a hard time suspending my disbelief.

Despite all my issues, I did still have a lot of fun reading Capturing the Devil! I loved seeing Audrey Rose, Cresswell, and Company in America and at the World's Fair. I also really enjoyed the romance and the banter between the two, even though it took up a bit more of the book than I feel it should have.

If you're in this series for the romance, you will LOVE this book! If you're in it for the murder mystery, well, there isn't much of a mystery if you know anything at all about Holmes.