Book Review: Escaping from Houdini (Stalking Jack the Ripper #3) by Kerri Maniscalco

Title: Escaping from Houdini
Author: Kerri Maniscalco
Genre: YA Historical Fiction / Mystery
Publication Date: September 18th, 2018
Publisher: JIMMY Patterson
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

“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 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?” (Goodreads)

“…every rose can draw blood as much as delight. Yet we do not hesitate to inhale their fragrance, do we? Danger does not detract from appeal; it increases it.”

I was hesitant to continue the series I have fallen in love with because there were mixed reviews for this book. Bad reviews always worry me but I have to remind myself that not everyone will like the same book and its okay to have a different opinion and so I pushed all my worries aside and dived in.

The plot, as always, is a murder mystery with our favorite characters becoming detectives once again on board a ship headed to America. Murders keep happening whenever the carnival perform and they grow suspicious of the guy running the show, Mephistopheles. Audrey finds herself entangled with this mysterious magician and Thomas gets pushed aside for most of the book. This is where many of the bad reviews stem from. I see why they would be upset because the first two books are full of the quick witted banter between Audrey and Thomas and without their budding romance it wouldn’t feel the same but I was intrigued with the new plot twist and had a few reasons as to why Mephistopheles came between them.

In the beginning when the carnival put on their first performance Meph talked about losing your heart or head, and other things. He lives for illusions and maybe everything between him and Audrey was just that. Another reason could be that she is confused about Thomas or getting cold feet since he is talking about marriage and even mentions children. Sometimes talks about those things scare people and although they have been through so much together and have seen their fair share of dead bodies, she is still human and is allowed to be scared of all of that commitment. I also don’t believe she meant to hurt Thomas in anyway and really did think she was helping her cousin out and doing her part in solving the murders. She hadn’t known Meph for much more than a few days but he was something new and quite different than Thomas in certain ways. I still felt bad for Thomas but at the same time I think Audrey was just being human.

Overall, the third book was great. They made up which I am extremely happy about and now I can’t wait to see where their next journey takes us as a few details of their next adventure was mentioned in this book! Is it September already because I need it!


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