The day has come my friends. I have been putting it off for some time, but no longer. I finally gave in and read the conclusion to the Stalking Jack the Ripper series, Capturing the Devil. Confession time–I hate reading or watching anything to do with lasts'. Whether it is a book, or show, or movie, it always seems to fall flat, not meet my expectations or leave still a million things unresolved and unanswered. I was so afraid of that being the case here, plus I didn't want to stop adventuring with Audrey Rose and Thomas. (FYI, I am going to do my very best to avoid any spoilers, however this is book four in the series and as such I will be referencing things that have happened in previous books. So stop now if you want to experience the twists and thrill of the magnificent series yourself. Then come back here!)
Audrey Rose and Thomas Cresswell… ugh I love these two so freaking much!!! Don't get me wrong, I love a good, passion filled, toes curling romance novel as much as the next girl, but there is something so beautiful and to be said about courting in the late 1800’s. Yes it had its definite issues, ones thankfully a majority of the world has long since moved on from. But talk about the slow burn and growing friendship of being chaperoned and letting the desire build before jumping directly into the physical aspects. In the previous books in the series you definitely get teases and enough of Thomas’s charm to make you weak in the knees, but then in this conclusion you finally get the see the true level of their passion and love for each other. A passion that has bloomed right alongside their friendship. Ugh… love their love!
Now to switch gears, because despite what I have gone on about up until now–this is not only a love story! No, no–that is a subplot! This book is about murder! Gasp! I am a huge true crime nerd, so this series definitely tickles all of my fancies and is a perfect melding of my two loves. Knowing the suspected ties between Jack the Ripper and Ol’ Mr. Herman Mudget (AKA H.H. Holmes) I was truly excited to see how and if that would play into the book series –especially after I have pieced together the factual history about the ship, Eutoria, that they had traveled to New York on in book three, Escaping from Houdini.
One thing that was an unexpected side effect from the series, in spite of my fascination with the morbidity that comes with the true crime world, is dealing with the gore and dead bodies. Obviously. Which is one thing that I cannot stand too deep of descriptions or visuals of without almost immediately queasy. This series, with its in depth descriptions and continual commentary on dissecting human bodies, seems to have desensitized me! (I’m still not entirely sure if that is a positive or negative yet…) Even in the first pages of this book, it goes into fine, descriptive detail about the butchering of a goat… Still gross of course, but I was not nearly as traumatized as I was when I first began to read book one, Stalking Jack the Ripper. In spite of the various countries and setting Audrey Rose travels throughout the series, each one is so well developed and easily visualized. What can I say–I think you all know my level of adoration I have for Kerri Maniscalco by now.
There is so much I would love to go on a tangent about in regards to this book, and the series in general, but I am doing my best to keep it spoil free for you lovely humans! I will tell you a few things though that won’t reveal anything. First, everyone needs a badass Grandmama and it is clear where Audrey Rose gets her fabulousness from. Second, I vote to start a petition bringing 1800’s fashion and accessories back. I want a decorative cane and beautiful dresses! Let's bring that back people! Third, exercise your self control. If in a few hours you can do it anyway–just wait the few hours damn it!! Fourth, and finally, never go to a serial killer's known place of residence at all–but especially not alone. (I felt this was a pretty obvious fact, but maybe that's just me…)
In the end, this book held up to my mountainous expectations that I held for it. I laughed. I yelled. I cried. (Yes, I am horrible to watch movies with, and I shan’t apologize for it!) But in the end, I turned the final page with a resolved sigh and then sat in silence and reflected on the wonder the entire series had managed to be.
Cheers Kerri Maniscalco! Please write a million more books!
“Shame you don’t feel like playing any longer. Though I’m not surprised. Men such as yourself boast in a grandiose fashion to make up for their… shortcomings.”
The world needed to be better. And if it wasn’t possible for it to be better, we, its inhabitants, needed to do better.
Secrets were more precious than any diamond or currency. And my brother had been rich with them.
We humans could not help loving our monsters.
”Beyond life, beyond death. My love for thee is eternal.”
“I wan’t to fall asleep against your chest and wake up in you arms. I long to be free to hug or kiss you whenever I choose, for as long as I choose. I want to know the sound of your breath as you slip into sleep.”
”Why are you smiling like that? IM’s trying to have a serious moment and you appear as though you either need to use the loo or have inexplicably sat on an anthill in the middle of my room.”
”My love for you will be a constant in a sea of unknown variables. We may fight or be cross with each other, but our love will never face or wilt. Trust in that. Trust in us. Forget the future. Forget worry. The only thing that terrifies me is the possibility of living with regret. I don‘t ever want to wake and wonder with life could have been like with you in it. I don’t ever want to regret holding myself back from loving you as fully and openly as possible.”
”I’d rather dance with the devil than sing with angels. Wouldn’t you?”
”Why indulge in spirits when there’s nothing more heavenly than chocolate?”