Release Date: April 8, 2012
Published By: Flux
Length: 340 pages
Review Copy: Paperback, Purchased
"I felt hot breath on my neck, and, horrified, I knew that he stood behind me . . ."
It's 1888, and after her mother's sudden death, Abbie is sent to live with her grandmother in a posh London neighborhood. When she begins volunteering at Whitechapel Hospital, Abbie finds she has a passion for helping the abused and sickly women there.
But within days, patients begin turning up murdered at the hands of Jack the Ripper. As more women are murdered, Abbie realizes that she and the Ripper share a strange connection: she has visions showing the Ripper luring his future victims to their deaths--moments before he turns his knife upon them. Her desperation to stop the massacres leads Abbie on a perilous hunt for the killer. And her search leads to a mysterious brotherhood whose link to the Ripper threatens not just London but all of mankind.
Ripper by Carol Reeves, tells the story of Jack the Ripper, with a supernatural twist. The novel follows the life of a Seventeen year old young woman, Arabella (Abbie). Following the sudden death of her mother, Abbie moves in with her estranged Grandmother. Her Grandmother’s lifestyle is quite from the one in which she was accustomed to. With her mother, Abbie lacked stability and wealth, while moving from town to town. Her Grandmother, however, is a well-respected member of her London community, and believes that status is everything. It is quite apparent early in the novel that Abbie is in fact, cut from a different cloth. After all, she is the girl who won quite a few knife throwing competitions in the past, behavior, which is not customary for a young lady in 19th century London. While her grandmother is determined to find her a proper gentleman, Abbie has other plans. Abbie has been invited to work at the Whitechapel Hospital with Dr. Bartlett, an old friend of her mother’s. It is at Whitechapel, in which Abbie discovers her passion for medicine, but she also discovers a few other things about herself and it all seems to be connected with the recent brutal murders within the Whitechapel vicinity. In fact, all of the victims were once Whitechapel patients. With the attacks increasing and becoming more brutal with each victim, only Abbie appears to be the one capable of finding the killer, especially since she discovers that she has a supernatural connection with one of the most heinous beings in History, Jack the Ripper.
Abbie is an enjoyable character. Her rebellion against the usual meme was refreshing. She had dreams, much bigger than just becoming someone’s wife. The other characters however, were not as well developed as Abbie’s. I actually liked both Simon and William to a degree, but something about both characters seemed a bit flat. William tended to have anger flare ups for inexplicable reasons. This would explain my hesitance to embrace the “connection” which Abbie felt for William. One minute she was saying that she couldn’t trust him, and the next, she was proclaiming her love for him. Simon’s character for the most part was one note, although I believe that there is potentially much more to his character. One other issue of note, happened near the end of the book, his actions, seemed out of place. I will not delve deeper into this matter, due to the fact that I do not wish to give away too much detail. I did however appreciate the fact that both characters supported Abbie—to an extent.
Other than misgivings about certain aspects of character development and interactions, I enjoyed Ripper, particularly Abbie’s independent spirit. The paranormal slant of the story brought a different spin to Jack the Ripper. After a story has been told so many times, it was pleasing to read a unique take. Ripper ended with a promise of things to come, therefore, I look forward to reading the sequel.
“If the pickpocket had taken anything other than that, I could have let it go. But not Mother’s brooch. I had to keep that.”
“... Dr. Bartlett’s carriage delivered me to the steps of Whitechapel Hospital for my first day of work. The building itself was old, sprawling, and yet puzzlingly solid, seemingly uncorrupted by the surrounding factories and traffic, by the mid-morning shouts of vendors and drunken East Enders. It stood as a symbol of order amidst all the busy slapdash of the streets.”
“A window on the third floor opened. I felt my blood freeze as a man crawled headfirst down the brick front wall of the hospital. It was an impossible act, and, even in the darkness, I had to cover my mouth to keep from crying out in terror. I could not see his face; he wore black and his figure was shadowed. He turned his head slightly to his right toward me, and it was then that I knew he was aware of my presence. Whatever his purpose, my intuition told me that it was predatory. I tried to sink into the shadows of the hospital entrance, and I glanced toward the front doors, wondering if they were locked. When I looked back, he was gone. Vanished.”
Review By: Kellie