Title: Hunting Prince Dracula
Series: Stalking Jack the Ripper #2
Author: Kerri Maniscalco
Date Published: September 19th 2017
Genre: Historical Mystery
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. 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?
This is the second installment in the Stalking Jack the Ripper series, and I want to start by saying whilst I enjoyed the first book, I found it a bit slow and slightly predictable. However, this book blew me away, it was everything I could ever want from a historical mystery.
The story follows on from the end of Stalking Jack the Ripper (though there are minimal spoilers for the first book so you could read out of order if you really wanted to) and is set in Romania at Bran castle which is now home to the Forensics Academy. The story goes straight into the mystery, it has an exciting start, and it keeps this pace up the whole way through. The mystery was full of twists and constantly had me guessing – the sure sign of an excellent mystery! I thoroughly enjoyed the mystery and all of the intertwined history and folklore tales, all of which played a great part in adding intrigue and suspicions on different characters.
The setting was perfect, the whole mystery centered around the tale of Dracula so of course, the setting gave us lots of Romanian folklore which provided a very creepy and intriguing atmosphere. I adored that the whole story felt steeped in history. Maniscalco's writing style is beautiful and well suited to mysteries, and she always manages to make the story feel richer and deeper with her style of writing.
One of my favourite aspects of this book was the character development of Audrey Rose and Thomas. I liked them in the first book, but I wasn’t that connected to them however, we got to know them so much better in this one. Maniscalco gave us character growth, a great portrayal of the trauma experienced in book 1, and of course, some amazing flirtatious and witty banter, and suffice to say they are now two of my favourite characters. Audrey Rose’s response to her trauma was wonderfully written and I loved that the author really brought this forward and didn’t just brush it off. Thomas was clever, witty, sweet, supportive, and flirty, which made me love him so much more than in book 1 where he was a lot more detached and distant. Thomas was so supportive of Audrey Rose even though he was very misguided at times and their relationship was a joy to read. Not only that, but we got to see a lot more of Thomas’s past and his insecurities which made him a lot more tangible and loveable which was something we didn’t get in book 1.
Overall, I absolutely adored this book. It gave me everything I wanted, and I couldn’t put it down. The setting, the mystery, and the character development made this a very special story, and I would 100% recommend this one to anyone looking for a delightful historical mystery.
Rating: 5 Stars