“Humans were the true monsters and villains. More real than any novel or fantasy could invent.”
Rating: 4/5 stars
In this New York Times bestselling sequel to Kerri Maniscalco’s haunting #1 debut Stalking Jack the Ripper, bizarre murders are discovered in the castle of Prince Vlad the Impaler, otherwise known as Dracula. Could it be a copycat killer…or has the depraved prince been brought back to life?
Following the grief and horror of her discovery of Jack the Ripper’s true identity, Audrey Rose Wadsworth has no choice but to flee London and its memories. Together with the arrogant yet charming Thomas Cresswell, she journeys to the dark heart of Romania, home to one of Europe’s best schools of forensic medicine…and to another notorious killer, Vlad the Impaler, whose thirst for blood became legend.
But her life’s dream is soon tainted by blood-soaked discoveries in the halls of the school’s forbidding castle, and Audrey Rose is compelled to investigate the strangely familiar murders. What she finds brings all her terrifying fears to life once again.
First things first, whoever said listening to audiobooks doesn’t count as reading can go fly a kite, as well as a slew of other obscenities that I’ll refrain from saying. People who listen to audiobooks inspire me because I am floored by their attention spans (please teach me your ways for future books) BUT I am happy to announce that I listened to my first audiobook and it was so much fun! It only took be a month to listen to it, but that’s okay, I DID IT!! The audiobook was fantastic and the narrator brought so much life to all of the characters so if you have not read this book or this series I would HIGHLY recommend listening to the audiobooks when doing so.
The story starts out with Audrey Rose and Thomas Cresswell on their way to Romania to study at an elite forensic medicine school. Audrey Rose is clearly suffering from PTSD and anxiety after the events that occurred in Stalking Jack the Ripper and having trouble deciphering what is real and what is not. Can I just say? It’s so nice to see, especially in a sequel murder mystery novel, that the MC is struggling to cope with events in the book prior. Everyone is usually so cold and detached that all of the traumatic events they went through are usually not mentioned again in the next book. But not in Audrey Rose’s case and I really loved that, it made her imperfectly perfect.
As usual upon arriving at the castle Audrey Rose is not welcomed with open arms because she is a female which means we get TONS of scenes were Audrey Rose shuts the boys down and shows them that women are just as capable as men. I’m just saying, I probably would not want to mess with someone who slices people open to study their organs for enjoyment all while wearing a corset and a fancy dress. That’s a bad bitch right there.
“Perhaps it was time for fathers to teach their sons how to behave around young women. They were not born superior, no matter how society falsely conditioned them. We were all equals here.”
Once Audrey Rose and Thomas are settled in to the castle, the murders begin and the victims start dropping like flies. The murders range from the victims being drained of all their blood to being eaten alive by bats. All staged in a way that would make it seem as though Vlad the Impaler is the one behind the murders. Now the best part about these books, to me at least, is not the discovery of the bodies, it’s the autopsies performed once the bodies are found. I love medicine, mystery, anatomy, blood, guts, and serial killers (please still be my friend) so to get this all wrapped in one is SO MUCH FUN.
Throughout the journey of this book Audrey Rose and Thomas are fighting some heavy attraction to one another and I WAS LIVING FOR IT. Which was amazing because I wasn’t into Thomas in the last book, but not anymore! I am smitten by the man that is Thomas Cresswell. The two of them are the perfect duo for solving murders together. I mean seriously, there are not many people who could be stuck in a room with a thousand tarantulas and still make me laugh. (Which also again ties back to the narrator being so awesome) Plus, Thomas is such a gentleman. UGH, I just can’t wait for them in the next book!
I will admit I did figure out who the killer was before the end just like I did in the first book but I was totally fine with it. The end scene where the killer is revealed was soooo creepy I LOVED IT! I mean that bathtub part was unreal. For me, like I mentioned before its no so much the murderer in this story that intrigues me its the studying of the bodies once they’re dead so no complaints here!
All in all, I’m so happy I picked this series back up. I enjoyed this one so much more than Stalking Jack the Ripper. Again, I would totally recommend the audiobooks when going into this series because the narrator was absolutely amazing. Now I will be patiently waiting for Escaping from Houdini to hit the shelves to see my favorite duo back in action!
Until next time!