Hunting Prince Dracula (Stalking Jack the Ripper #2) by Kerri Maniscalco
WARNING: Mild Spoilers for Stalking Jack the Ripper!!
Let me give you a little scenario to start out the atmosphere in which I devoured this book. I’m babysitting late on a saturday night, the family gets home well after midnight and tells me thanks for the help, and drive home safe. Knowing that I’m going to be home pretty late, and that I’ll be home alone all weekend, I’ve left a lot of lights on in the house so I won’t be freaked out when I get home. But when I pull into my driveway, I notice that the front porch light is off, and from the looks of it so is every single light in the house that I left on… hmmm there’s definitely something strange going on. When I unlock the front door I realize its because my power is out. No lights. My cell phone battery is on its last remaining 10%… of course. After calling the power company to check on the status of when power should be back on I’m given the estimated time of 4:00 am. Well its going to be a long night. I use the last of my cell phone battery to find all the candles and flashlights in the house, luckily I have a good amount of camping gear and even had a fully charged headlamp which was perfect to read by. So there I am, home alone, in the dark, reading by headlamp and candlelight about a dark dreary castle in Romania where dead bodies are turning up drained of blood. Meanwhile there are dark things lurking in the woods outside of the castle just waiting for their next meal…! Do you have goosebumps yet?! I can safely say that I survived my night of terror, and that it might have even made the book all that more appealing because of the creepy atmosphere!
This book was so surprisingly good which I wasn’t sure would happen considering how often I love a first book and the second book rarely lives up to that same hype. But in this case, I might have even liked this book better than the first! Hunting Prince Dracula starts off right after the Stalking Jack the Ripper ends. We begin with our beloved Audrey Rose trying to work through the PTSD of finding out Jack the Ripper’s true identity. And even though it was definitely a traumatic experience for her, she is trying to move forward with her life and is Transylvania bound with her dashingly handsome partner in crime, Thomas Cresswell. They are going to be attending a university for studying forensic science and to further their education together they have been highly recommended by Audrey’s uncle and find that they have been accepted to begin studying right away. But of course they don’t even make it to the castle before things take a turn for the worst. On the train ride there, someone is murdered and even though she is working through her own demons, Audrey Rose with the help of Thomas decides that they have a new case on their hands. Who is already killing people? And why does death seem to follow her every where she goes?!
In this book we learn a lot more about Thomas and his background since its mentioned earlier that his mother is from Romania. We find out that Thomas actually has family close by and can speak the language and so many other secrets that he had yet to reveal in the first book. His character growth in this book is immense as he opens up to Audrey Rose. Their attraction to each other builds throughout this book until you can almost feel it in the air around you. The romantic tension is so real folks! I love how unabashedly in love Thomas is with Audrey, and how he isn’t afraid to show it or voice it at every opportune moment. Their witty banter and flirting is what I live for! I can’t get enough! Not to mention that its wonderful to read about a sweet and love struck guy every now and then in a world where there are so many awful and toxic relationships out there. The love between Thomas and Audrey is believable and progresses in a way thats healthy and sweet and endearing.
Audrey also grows as a character through dealing with the after math of the trauma she went through with Jack the Ripper, and also coming to realize that she could possibly find a partnership with Thomas that doesn’t take away from her desire to have a career and become more than a simpering house wife. That Thomas might be the one to lift her up and help her through the tough times but not take away from her independence. That love can work without smothering you. Its these things and big understandings that really make a character real to me. The fact that Audrey doesn’t just give everything up because a handsome man says he will give her the world makes her such a strong female character to me and I can get behind her and her decisions knowing that they are all airheaded and full of nonsense. She is definitely a strong advocate for feminism in a world where women still aren’t always considered equal, she stands defiant and strong willed to become more than what she’s told she can be. And that’s always a powerful and motivating emotion to play on. And Audrey Rose is perfection at this role.
The setting of this book was wonderfully creepy. With a dark castle filled with bats and dark tunnels and surrounded by woods filled with wolves waiting for a lone traveler to make their next meal. Audrey’s room is ever so conveniently located right next to the morgue and away from everyone else including Thomas. But that doesn’t stop him from keeping tabs on his beloved Audrey Rose. Even in their trips into town you can still feel the cold of the snow covered road and the chill in the air as the breeze rushes out of the forest and invades every opening in their cloaks. The things that go bump in the night as Audrey tries to sleep next to the room where dead bodies are kept. And the secret meetings that lead to strange tunnels below ground where there are more dark rooms and passageways than you can imagine. Just reading about them gave me the heebie jeebies! But its all so vivid and perfectly portrayed to give you the haunting atmosphere that our heroine Audrey Rose encounters as she tries to find out who is killing all of the people and making it seem like Dracula is back and thirsty for blood.
I highly recommend this series to anyone who likes a good mystery and who dunnit. They keep you guessing from the first to last page and all throughout the meat of the book as well. The characters are so well written and seem more real than some of the people I’ve met in read life. I have come to absolutely love Audrey and Thomas and can’t get enough of their conversations with each other and the way they refuse to admit that they have the hots for each other. Still we all know 🙂 ! These books balance the creepy with the romantic perfectly to keep you with goosebumps from the scares to the sweets. They are impossible to put down, and trust me when I say its an addiction that’s impossible to quit. Even with the lights out and nothing but candlelight to read by, I couldn’t put it down. Even when I was scared of every noise, the need to read this overpowered every other thought in my mind. And I’m so happy that it did. These books are fantastic!
If You Liked This Book
While these books are both very different in genre and style, I think that they have similar plots in the sense that there is something amiss while these strong female characters are in a place they aren’t used to living. And while there are dead bodies turning up, these women take it upon themselves to try and solve who is killing people right under their noses and in both books its quite the surprise. If you liked Hunting Prince Dracula, I’d definitely give Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas a read!
Have you read any of this series? Do you have any other Historical fiction recommendations that are as amazing as these? I’m jumping into a genre that isn’t really my usual forte and loving it! What would you have done if the power was out like I discovered?! Keep reading even though that might be Dracula tapping on your window that you heard? haha! Sometimes the book is more important!! Let me know what you think in the comments below!