As with all of her previous books of Kerri Maniscalco that I have read, her cover for Escaping From Houdini is stunning! Continuing the tale of Audrey Rose Wadsworth and Thomas Cresswell, one I can not get enough of, takes the duo onto the seas. Aboard the RMS Etruria, what was supposed to be a carefree week of carnival acts and hidden trysts in dark corners quickly shifts when death begins to strike one young woman after another. When deceit and force secrets begin to pile up, Audrey Rose finds herself second-guessing everything in her life. Finding another type of science proves to be as intriguing and alluring to her as much as the mysterious Mephistopheles.
Yet again the duo finds themselves wrist-deep in bodies with lives held in the balance. As much as I love Audrey Rose, I must admit it would be extremely interesting to hear this series from Thomas’s point of view as well. With his insightful and unique way of thinking and observing people, crime scenes, and cadavers, I think it would more than enlightening to shift into his brain.
Complete with lions, doctors, clowns, and fortune-tellers this story made me picture the Moulin Rouge movie starring Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor. Everything is described with the same feel as that movie with the dark hues, sensual debauchery, cancan dancing, and even absinthe! One thing, among many others, that had me laughing aloud was the fact that Audrey Rose is afraid of clowns. As a fellow clown hater, it made me feel a little better that the girl who creeps around Dracula’s castle in the middle of the night, and slices open dead bodies is afraid of them as well.
One character that we had met before, but gets more of a role in this book in the series, is Liza. Though she sometimes seems naive, and the older sister in me had heavy sighing and wanting to shake her through the pages, you get to see more of her personality and dreams. And above all, these two cousins no doubt have each other’s backs. Neither one content to settle for the life of a quiet, well-behaved, proper wife, they help push each other towards their dreams even when the world is pushing back against them.
Kerri Maniscalco, as always, creates the world so beautifully around you that you are immersed, or in this case, trapped on the boat alongside the characters. Trickling just enough clues that when you get to the end you want to scream at how you missed it! She is as adept at misdirection as the carnival performers that she wrote about.
More and more Thomas and Audrey Rose bloom into a wonderful and perfect match, balancing and supporting each other even when their love is put to the test not just once. I just can’t get enough of them and can’t wait to read the next book to see what happens next as they land in America and prepare to take on yet another murderer.
“People often admire physical strength but I believe it’s the simple things one does after a tragedy that defines them. There is no greater show of power that continuing to live when you’d like nothing more than to hide down and let the world fade.”
“I love when you look at me that way.” I searched his eyes. “How?” "Like you might possibly love me in the same extraordinary way that I love you.”