Happy Thursday! Today NovelKnight is joining the voyage across the Atlantic and dining with the Moonlight Carnival! I’m sharing an early review of Escaping from Houdini by Kerri Maniscalco (LOVE THIS SERIES!) along with, not one, but TWO giveaways!
And don’t forget to follow along with the rest of the blog tour!
Escaping from Houdiniby Kerri Maniscalco
Series: Stalking Jack the Ripper #3
Published on September 18, 2018 by Jimmy Patterson
Genres: Historical, Mystery, Young Adult
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?
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We’ve stalked Jack the Ripper through London and hunted for the infamous Dracula. We’ve swooned and sighed over dead bodies and Thomas Cresswell alike. Now it’s time to venture across the Atlantic with the Moonlight Carnival for a week of thrills and chills!
As the third installment of one of my favorite young adult series, I was beyond excited for Escaping from Houdini. Especially considering a traveling carnival is the main focus this time around and I’m all about those carnival/circus books!
Disclaimer: This review is of the ARC copy of this book. The final version has a different ending and additional pages and content that I can’t compare to until release but plan to talk about once September 18 is here.
Perhaps it was the lengthy time between books 2 and 3 (no more than other series, but I’ve read a lot of other books in between) or just this book, but Escaping from Houdini lacked that initial hook that I’ve come to expect of this series. It’s easily one of the only historical mystery series I’ve read and enjoyed in the YA genre which also means my expectations tend to be fairly high.
I’ve loved Audrey Rose’s character from the start. She’s a woman with a mind of her own, dissecting bodies and hunting down killers one day and taking tea with her friends the next. The contrast is entertaining and I love her wit and snark. But something felt missing in EFH. She didn’t seem fully herself, if that makes sense. Beyond the whole murder mystery, her internal conflict seemed to move in a circle much like in the past books. I had hoped that she would finally settle on Cresswell and the romantic tension would take on a different role in this book and the next, but I felt like it came back to the same place it was in book 2. But this may also change in the final copy as some of my thoughts here also reflect the ARC ending.
On that note, I could have done without the weird love triangle. But I’m also not a fan of romances being dragged out through this many books so there’s that as well.
But like the first installments of this series, Escaping from Houdini didn’t fail to captivate me. At times, I grew a bit distant from the story due to more telling than showing (and yes, there’s a time/place for telling but in this case it pulled me out of the world). Maniscalco knows how to spin an intriguing murder mystery, keeping you on your toes from start to finish. And you can guess the culprit all you want but there was always something that came as a surprise no matter my guessing. I devoured this book in one night because I needed to know who did it!
The added element of the Moonlight Carnival, a show combining magic and thrills, really brought this world to life. I wanted to know if the carnival (or something similar) existed at this point in history, and if Houdini was a part of any of it. I was a bit surprised that Houdini didn’t play as big a role as I expected in this book, based on the title, but I liked how the new characters fleshed out the cast a bit more.
So despite a few elements of the book (that very well may change between the ARC and final copy), Escaping from Houdini is another solid installment in the Stalking Jack the Ripper series. I would definitely recommend reading this series if you like famous historical figured combined with morbid mystery and an entertaining cast. I only wish EFH featured more of Thomas Cresswell because. . . well, do I really need a reason? 😂
One lucky winner will receive an ARC of Escaping from Houdini by Kerri Maniscalco.
Open to US residents only. Ends September 26. Enter using the Rafflecopter below!
This giveaway is hosted by a third party. NovelKnight is not responsible for the provision or shipping of the prize, or winner selection.
I’m sending my ARC to one lucky winner too! Enter on instagram!
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