Title: Capturing the Devil (Stalking Jack the Ripper #4)
Author: Kerri Maniscalco
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Publication Date: September 10th, 2019
Synopsis: “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?” (Goodreads)
My Review: (Spoilers Galore. Sorry!)
I can officially say that this year has been the year for disappointment when it comes to series finales and continuation of series. Maybe it’s just me. I am sure this will be an unpopular opinion but oh well, here we go!
There wasn’t much change with how the characters were compared to the other books in the series. The only change was that they are more infatuated with each other. That is where one of my problems with the book began. Don’t get me wrong, I do like that they are together but at the same time I don’t want more than 50% of the book to be about it. The relationship really takes away from the adventure and thrill of the murders. There are a couple murders in the beginning and then we get nothing for a long while. It felt like this was more of a Historical Fiction Romance with a pinch of Mystery (but not really because everything was pretty obvious).
Of course since it was more about their relationship, a plot twist was introduced to stop their courtship and add shock. The thing is, sure it was a bit shocking but at the same time the author eluded to it a bit here and there so when it did eventually happen it was just like, “Oh, okay.” There also wasn’t much development when it came to the plot twist either. It happens, is talked about for a bit, and then disappears until the end of the book when it is taken care of. It just felt unnecessary.
When it came to the plot and as I said above, it mainly focuses around their relationship. There is murder but it is nothing compared to the other books. It didn’t get interesting for me until around 80% or so. I knew that the ending would be rushed because as the synopsis states, it is supposed to take place in Chicago with the Worlds Fair, expect they didn’t even travel there until 50% in. The murderer was also obvious from the start and we were introduced to him quite quickly, like right at the beginning of the book. He is also present throughout. The synopsis even talks about the Infamous Murder Hotel but there wasn’t much detail for the “castle” as they referred to it in the book. It was there and gone within 10-15% of reading. As such a big murderer in history, it was quite the letdown.
Mephistopheles comes back for this book and I am not really sure why. Thomas tried to paint him as the murderer but it was obvious he had nothing to do with it and it was just another unnecessary plot twist.
My other issue with the book was how there were many political issues talked about. I’m not saying that I don’t like when they are talked about or that authors shouldn’t add their own opinions, but a couple just felt unnecessary and if you were to take out those sentences it wouldn’t take away from the book. Although I had more of an issue when religion was brought up and Adam and Eve were talked about because it was inaccurate. This is what was included:
“The one question no one can answer is always, if Adam had been warned, why didn’t he pass the message along to his wife? Seems he was more to blame than she was.” -Capturing the Devil
I’m not sure what the author’s intentions were when it came to this statement, but in the Bible although it doesn’t specifically say that Adam told Eve, she still knew it was wrong because she said this to the serpent:
“And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.” Genesis 3:2-3
Another issue I had was with her brother. As they did more research he became less of a monster and he actually wasn’t the murderer. Here’s the thing, I am not a fan of this whole “redemption” trope. It takes away from the first book and shapes her brother into a different character. Sure, he still did some bad things but again, it takes away from the whole picture we had of him.
Overall, I found myself wanting to DNF more than once. I didn’t care if I picked it up again when I had to set it down to go do something. As a most anticipated read for the year, I am disappointed. There was no shock factor like the rest of the series had and this might as well been a romance novel. This book had a lot of potential and a great premise, I wish it would have been executed better. I am just going to pretend that this one didn’t happen.