Publisher: Little, Brown, and Company
Published: September 19th, 2017
Read as: US Hardcover
Average Goodreads rating: 4.38
My rating: 3.5
In this New York Times bestselling sequel to Kerri Maniscalco’s haunting #1 debut Stalking Jack the Ripper, bizarre murders are discovered in the castle of Prince Vlad the Impaler, otherwise known as Dracula. Could it be a copycat killer…or has the depraved prince been brought back to life?
Following the grief and horror of her discovery of Jack the Ripper’s true identity, Audrey Rose Wadsworth has no choice but to flee London and its memories. Together with the arrogant yet charming Thomas Cresswell, she journeys to the dark heart of Romania, home to one of Europe’s best schools of forensic medicine…and to another notorious killer, Vlad the Impaler, whose thirst for blood became legend.
But her life’s dream is soon tainted by blood-soaked discoveries in the halls of the school’s forbidding castle, and Audrey Rose is compelled to investigate the strangely familiar murders. What she finds brings all her terrifying fears to life once again.
“Monsters are only as real as the stories that grant them life. And they only live for as long as we tell those tales.”
As soon as I finished reading Stalking Jack the Ripper I wanted to jump right into this book. The ending of SJTR had me longing for more adventures with Wadsworth and Cresswell. Dracula is one of my favorite classic stories and I love a good literary spook so I dove right in.
Unfortunately, the beginning was very slow going. I understood the need to address the emotional trauma that Wadsworth went through at the end of the first book but at the same time it drug on forever. Yes, I know she is emotionally damaged, can we move on please?
Most of this book also took place inside of just one castle. Normally a rather stationary setting isn’t too bad but each scene was presented as if the reader should be shocked or entranced with the repeat settings and it got very dull. Yes, I know it is an old spooky castle. Can we move on from that, too, please?
I also mentioned this in my Stalking Jack the Ripper review but I feel like it needs repeating. I really dislike Thomas Cresswell. In fact, I think I dislike him more after reading this book than I did after the first one. He is such an unlikable character that is presented in a way that feels like we are meant to like him. I don’t. Make him go away. I spend more than half my time reading this series rolling my eyes at him.
Now, even though I just gave a quick laundry list of everything I didn’t like in this book, it was still a good book. The underlying mystery of the whole thing had my attention the whole way through even when I would get annoyed with some of the smaller details. I even slammed the book shut at one point at a horror Audrey Rose had to face because it gave me the heebie jeebies. That is a high compliment because I have reached a point in life that it is hard for things like that to touch me. Makes my skin crawl just thinking about it. *shudder*
This review is a mess. I’m a mess. So, I’ll just jump ship now and leave you with this: This was a good book. There were bits that annoyed me but not enough to make me stop reading. Maniscalco obviously knows what she is doing and crafts great stories and I will be picking up the next book in this series as soon as I can convince myself to spend the money on the hardback.