Hunting Prince Dracula (Stalking Jack the Ripper #2)
By: Kerri Maniscalco
Genre: Horror/Historical Fiction
Bang Bang Review:
Audrey Rose Wadsworth is still reeling from the Ripper case as she and Thomas Cresswell head to Romania to enroll in a school for medicine. Murders seem to happen all around Wadsworth much like Murder, She Wrote with the first being on the train to Romania. When they arrive to the dark castle, our dynamic duo learn that only two students will be admitted to the program which of course leaves Wadsworth worried because she’s a woman. Nerds to that! Wadsworth gathers her skirts (all the freaking time) and gets elbow deep in cadavers.
Being the inquisitive person that she is, Wads investigates every creak and twig break which causes some tension for when the creak is actually the murderer but I found it a bit too obvious and too repetitive. During her outings, Wads discovers weird books, drawings, caves, bats, and that Cress can be an undermining jerk.
Joining Wads and Cress is a not-so-interesting cast of characters with the exception of Professor Radu. The other two women, Anastasia and Daciana, are quite driven which is too similar to Wads and the headmaster and the other male students are a bit tropey. With that being said, Maniscalco does an adequate job of developing motives and red herrings.
I really wanted to like this book and although I gave Ripper a 3.5, I liked Maniscalco’s character development but this ended up being one of my issues with the book as stated above. I think the enjoyment of Ripper came from Wads and Cress as characters which I liked a lot but since I know this duo, there’s nothing new here. Maniscalco does write strong women which I like but it’s not enough to keep me engaged.
My other issue is Maniscalco’s writing. She needs to trust the reader to infer and to not bash us over the head. Okay I get it, Wads constantly has to fist up her skirts to run. Okay I get it, the castle is old with lots of little noises and we all know that one of those noises is going to be the killer. Maniscalco also doesn’t use her words strategically-in other words, this book was too damn long! I think every word should count towards the plot, character development, or world building and I thought Dracula had too many words that could have been cut and the book would have been unaffected. My biggest issue was the pacing. I know it’s called “Hunting” so that’s what they are going to do but when I read a book about Dracula, I want to see Dracula DAMMIT and not 75% in! This is my problem and not the book’s but since the pacing is not to my liking, I will not be reading book 3. I started skipping half way and by page 300, I skipped to the end to see whodunit.
I’m bummed, I really like Kerri and she seems like a lovely person and I met her at ALA and she personalized my book with my favorite quote from book 1 but I just can’t. If you enjoyed Ripper, you will love Dracula.