My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
The Stalking Jack the Ripper series is quite hard to place for me. There are so many great moments of promise within the series, but yet somehow ends up not feeling quite right to me. I did enjoy this book the most so far in the series though, despite my intense frustration with the idiocy of the main character. I love the idea of Audrey Rose, with her feminism and unique interests – but most of the time she just annoys me. She tends to succumb to her worst ideas and her decisions making skills leave something to be desired. She has all of the qualities on paper of being a strong, female character but then her actions just undermine her completely.
In the previous books in the series, it was Thomas Cresswell that shone for me with his wit and humour. He still was fun in this book, although Mephistopheles added a welcome new dynamic to the story. Maniscalco is able to write funny and intriguing male lead characters, which is what redeems these stories for me – although I would love them so much more if she could make the female lead as fun to read.
As the book was called Escaping from Houdini I had hoped that there would be more Houdini, or magic in the plot. I loved the carnival aspect of the story and was quite interested to read about the various acts, the tarot, and the mystery. I love books about carnivals and magic, so that was probably what made the book my favourite in the series so far. The introduction of the mysterious and devilish Mephistopheles didn’t hurt either.
Overall though, there still was something that wasn’t quite right with the series although I enjoyed listening to the book greatly. The audiobook narrator did a fantastic job and really added to my overall positive experience with the book. I am intrigued to see where this series takes us next and how Audrey Rose will deal with the ridiculous decisions and their repercussions from this book in the next.