Escaping from Houdini (Stalking Jack the Ripper, #3)by Published 18 Sep 2018
|Escaping from Houdini (Stalking Jack the Ripper, #3).pdf|
In this third installment in the #1 bestselling Stalking Jack the Ripper series, a luxurious ocean liner becomes a floating prison of scandal, madness, and horror when passengers are murdered one by one…with nowhere to run from the killer. .
Audrey Rose Wadsworth and her partner-in-crime-investigation, Thomas Cresswell, are en route to New York to help solve another blood-soaked mystery. Embarking on a week-long voyage across the Atlantic on the opulent RMS Etruria, they’re delighted to discover a traveling troupe of circus performers, fortune tellers, and a certain charismatic young escape artist entertaining the first-class passengers nightly.
But then, privileged young women begin to go missing without explanation, and a series of brutal slayings shocks the entire ship. The strange and disturbing influence of the Moonlight Carnival pervades the decks as the murders grow ever more freakish, with nowhere to escape except the unforgiving sea. It’s up to Audrey Rose and Thomas to piece together the gruesome investigation as even more passengers die before reaching their destination. But with clues to the next victim pointing to someone she loves, can Audrey Rose unravel the mystery before the killer’s horrifying finale?
"Escaping from Houdini (Stalking Jack the Ripper, #3)" Reviews
internet: cressworth wedding 2019!
me: they've known each other 4 months, AR just turned 17, Papa Wadsworth hasn't approved of them even dating yet, they've liked each other for two months, they've kissed 3 or 4 times, Thomas screwed up twice 2-3 weeks ago in HPD, but if you're suuuuure... #SJTR4 #murderbynumbers #happyfriday!
just a little Friday fun. hope you have a wonderful weekend filled with tons of spooky reads!! xoxo
EFH Fall Tour announcement can be found here! (along with signed editions available throughout the US on release day!)
INTL Pre-orders (available to all) can be found here:
IG--I'm hosting an INTL giveaway RIGHT NOW and it ends on 8/16/18!
both the US pre-order prizes and INTL pre-order giveaway have been announced!
US pre-order: https://www.jimmypatterson.org/titles...
INTL giveaway: https://www.instagram.com/p/BllHpLWFM...
i'm hosting the very first ARC giveaway on twitter RIGHT NOW! go forth and enter, friends! remember, there aren't going to be very many ARCs in the world, so don't miss out!!!
1/16/18 update: COVER REVEAL IS THIS FRIDAYYYYYYYYYY (1/19/18)
12/17/17 update: title, summary, and tentative release date are being announced TOMORROW!
title announcement coming before the end of december. are you ready???
i am having a little too much fun writing this dark draft :)
You've been warned.
I AM JUST GOING TO PRETEND THAT THIS BOOK NEVER HAPPENED.
I've never been this disappointed or frustrated because of a book. Escaping from Houdini was an insult to my emotions, my sanity, and the very heroes Kerri Maniscalco so lovingly created. It took a tremendous amount of effort to turn the pages, to witness the fall of the characters that always managed to put a smile on my face. My pulse accelerated and I wanted to throw things and ravage and scream and burn the darn book (YES I came this close to committing the most ungodly sacrilege) and get drunk (YES I did stop reading in order to CONSUME ALCOHOL to calm my nerves - and that's from a person who drinks only TWICE a year). Stalking Jack the Ripper and Hunting Prince Dracula were two books I loved, and I can't even begin to describe how upset and aggravated I am from the treatment of what I once thought was the perfect crime solving duet. My expectations tumbled like a tower made of playing cards, and my heart? It was crushed into tiny pieces.
Expectation No. 1: Wadswoth and Cresswell being a team, solving crimes, cutting bloated corpses while bantering and flirting.
↬ Reality: Cresswell's presence was dramatically reduced. Why? Because the author decided to insert an unnecessary, cheap love triangle as a means to test their love or whatever, with the second love interest (hereinafter referred to as S.L.I.) being a copycat of Cresswell, a person of debatable morality who kept provoking the latter and suddenly became the center of Wadsworth's world. Oh, and it gets better. Wadsworth ended up questioning her feelings towards Cresswell, the boy who was also her partner and friend, who was next to her during emotional trauma and tragedies, who constantly supported her and literally worshipped her because of someone she knew for LESS THAN A WEEK, WHOSE FACE SHE HAD NEVER SEEN, who kept staging incidents that compromised Wadsworth's virtue just to spite Cresswell and manipulated her. Wadsworth's excuses for the time she spent with S.L.I. were pathetic; she supposedly struck a deal with S.L.I. for a greater good, but her immaturity, her reckless, childish and self-centered behaviour was an utter disservice to her character and everything she's been through. Somehow her flaws were magnified, her saving graces diminished, even though it's the third book of the series, meaning that her slow but steady growth preceded the events of Escaping from Houdini. Investigating crime scenes without Cresswell? Hiding crucial information and evidence from him? Sneaking out at night with another man, practically cheating? I did not sign up for this. She never talked to him, not even once tried to explain what was going on, but at the same time asked for his unconditional trust. And Cresswell? While he had every right to yell, to be jealous and confront her, he simply sat idly and waited for her to choose. Wadsworth claimed that hurting Cresswell, that brushing him aside or doing something questionable was dictated by her head in order to solve the case, yet only pages later she would ignore the logic she so passionately invoked in order to do things she felt that she needed to do, despite reason. Even her inner musings were inconsistent. She was aboard a vessel plagued by murder and mayhem, and she was focused on S.L.I., the freedom he offered, and acted like a ninny that was guided by her hormones.
The partnership I came to love so affectionately, the two forensic students that complimented each other like two pieces of a puzzle, Cresswell with his marvelous deductive skills and Wadsworth with her instict, was barely there. In its stead, there was S.L.I. who assumed Thomas' role. All I got was lies, deception, and a foolish girl who was blinded by illusions and hurt the people she loved.
Expectation No. 2: Wadsworth advocating feminism.
↬ Reality: Let's break the bubble, folks. Wadsworth is not a feminist. The way I perceive it, feminism is about gender equality, about being treated with respect regardless of sex. It's not about superiority, and it addresses all women. Wadsworth wanted the ability to choose, to make mistakes and learn and take her fate into her own hands.
❝All my life I'd longed for freedom - freedom to pick and choose every detail of my life. To make good decisions and horrible ones. Decisions that would break my heart and remake it ten times over.❞
The problem is, all these principles according to Wasworth applied only to herself. She went behind Liza's back and struck a deal with the devil in an attempt to patronize her, the very thing she hated and fought against. She meddled in Liza's affairs because apparently Wadsworth knew what was best for her, without doing her the courtesy of making her own mistakes. Wadsworth fought for her own right to make horrible decisions, but it seems that Liza was not entitled to the same freedom. And you know what that makes Wadsworth? A self-righteous, dishonest and manipulative HYPOCRITE.
The same goes to the way she behaved around Cresswell; Wadsworth wanted to be treated as an equal, to be appreciated for her mind the same way he was. The thing is that during Escaping from Houdini, she never treated him as her partner. Because it seems that Audrey Rose Wadsworth is an almighty deity who doesn't need anyone (except from S.L.I., who understands her and doesn't want to cage her).
Expectation No. 3: A well-structured criminal case.
↬ Reality: Let's be honest, a book about murders on a luxurious ship entertained by an eerie and wickedly enchanting carnival is bound to be captivating. Kerri Maniscalco succeeded in creating the proper ambience, the sinister vibe that promised debauchery and blood, the chilling atmosphere right before the murderer presented his ghastly works of art, and that is the sole reason I didn't rate it lower. However, a) I figured out the identity of the killer once a certain clue was presented (and I can't fathom how Wadsworth did not see it coming), and b) I can't shake the feeling that the evidence and the whole construction of the crime were chaotic. Instead of elaborately crafting a detailed, thorough murder case, the author prefered to focus on the drama overdose and the (unfounded) conflict of Wadsworth's feelings, and mistakes inevitably happened. For example, Wadsworth was given a note about a secret meeting and went to the rendezvous point thinking it came from Cresswell. Didn't she recognize that it wasn't his handwriting? *cue facepalm*
Escaping from Houdini inflicted a devastating blow on my love for this series, it opened a wound that will probably never heal. I fear that the relationship I cherished, and the heroes I rooted for are now tainted, tarnished by the glitter and the silks of the Moonlight Carnival. And that is something I never expected.
Review also posted on Booknest!
Stalking Jack the Ripper:★★★★
Hunting Prince Dracula: ★★★★★
Escaping from Houdini: ★★½
3.5? 3.75? I DON’T KNOW
There were things I loved but also things that I hated, but I enjoyed it? I’ll talk it through more in my October wrap up!
#1: Stalking Jack the Ripper ★★★★★
#2: Hunting Prince Dracula ★★★★★
#3: Escaping From Houdini ★★★★★
Let me tell you guys, I have been dying to post this review! It’s been a few months since I read this one, but the publisher did request that I wait to post my thoughts until close to the book’s release, and naturally, I obliged. Now that I can finally gush freely with you all, I have to tell you that I adore this series. It is such a fun roller coaster of emotions and suspense, and I honestly think Kerri could write a dozen books following the adventures of Audrey and Thomas, and I would happily read each and every one of them.
He flashed a quick grin. “A lifetime full of surprises, remember, Wadsworth?”
“Indeed.” I could not imagine a future that didn’t include unwinding each secret he possessed.
Just the same as in the past two installments, my favorite parts are each and every moment in which Audrey and Thomas are alone, whether they’re swapping flirty banter, admiring one another’s intellect, sneaking steamy moments in hidden corners, or confessing sweet, tender emotions and desires. That said, this installment relies less on relationship building and more on suspense, intrigue, and a bit of con work.
“Truth is often compared to a blade. I question those who marvel when it pricks.”
What I expect to be a controversial topic is Audrey’s behavior in this book, which I ultimately loved, despite struggling with at first. Escaping fell slightly below Hunting Prince Dracula in terms of enjoyment for me because of her actions, which I hold conflicting feelings about: on the one hand, her deceit is heartbreaking as we see the pain it causes her loved ones, but on the other, Audrey proves herself as a bright young woman who has come to recognize that she has to figure things out for herself and to see if she’s settling, or truly on the path she needs to be on. That said, I think readers everywhere will be pleased with the end of her curious emotional journey.
“Hope is an invisible, but mighty force. Don’t dismiss its power.”
On a less conflicting note, let me tell you, the setting is this book is fantastic; it is so delightful and intriguing. Nothing is ever quite what it seems to be on the ship, and there’s a lot of world-building for the circus and its performers that lends to an immersive, captivating arena for the murders.
“Miss Audrey Rose Wadsworth, conqueror of my soul—you are an absolute fiend. You’d like to flout tradition simply because of your need for my body.” He held a hand over his heart. “I swear I have never loved you more.”
As for my favorite aspect of the series, Thomas: he has developed into this delightfully kind creature when it comes to his love for Audrey, but his humor and snark are still fully present, as is his brilliant wit. Thomas is truly one of my favorite YA love interests of all time, because not only is he funny, charming, and cute—he’s also incredibly respectful and in awe of Audrey’s talents, and even when it breaks his heart, he’s fully prepared to do whatever it takes to ensure that she feels free to make the choices she needs to make. I just love him so, so much.
“Swords, secrets, and stolen kisses.”
Finally, our newest prominent player: Mephistopheles, the ring-leader of the traveling show. I know that there have been some mixed feelings about him from other ARC reviewers, but I have to say that, despite some of the really twisted things he does, I thought he was a phenomenal addition to the story. He’s got this moral greyness to him that you can never quite determine the shade of, and his motives are rarely, if ever, clear.
“You speak the language of my complicated heart, Wadsworth. I am a very lucky man.”
I hoped he still believed that once I’d confessed my morning activities in full.
Genuinely, I am so interested in seeing what the general consensus is when the finished release rolls around and reviews start to roll in, because I think Kerri made a lot of risky moves while writing this story (which paid off). I definitely looked at Audrey Rose a little differently by the time I closed the cover on this one (not in a bad way, though), and I wonder if it will shift even further once the finished ending comes out—because, in case you didn’t know, the ARCs don’t have the final ending. Kerri wrote a fake ending for the advance copies, which gives me the perfect excuse to reread this beauty when my pre-order arrives in September.
I’ll come back and update this review after I’ve finished, to let you all know if any of my thoughts have changed, but as it stands, I can promise you that I will still be recommending this series to anyone and everyone, as it is such a fun read with a truly lovable cast of characters.
All quotes come from an advance copy and may not match the final release. Thank you so much to Jimmy Patterson Books for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!
You can find this review and more on my blog, or you can follow me on twitter, bookstagram, or facebook!
Buddy read with Kayla and Amy!
This is such a fun series. I like the gory factors, Cresswell—especially Cresswell, and the cool themes that are intertwined. So when I saw carnival on a ship, I was incredibly ecstatic.
Let me start out by saying the book started off very well—we get some killing right away. But then a mysterious guy with a face mask who is the carnival's leader, Mephistopheles, comes into the picture. This is where our girl, Audrey Rose, starts getting a little ridiculous.
My favorite thing about this series has been how Audrey and Thomas Cresswell are a team. A lot of this book Cresswell wasn't even there ... but Mephistopheles was. Uh oh, that means possible love triangle. I hate when you're so invested in two characters, especially when you are at book three—there does not need to be another guy in the picture!
Anyway, so besides Audrey acting ridiculous, I loved the book! The atmosphere was gorgeous, awe-inspiring and creepy—a mixture of the best kind. It was incredibly well written, and I'm excited to see what happens in book four!