And now for the big reveal! If you were thinking it was Dracula, you were close and if you like that kind of scary story, this one will not disappoint.
Hunting Prince Dracula
Author: Kerri Maniscalco
Publisher: Jimmy Patterson Books, Little Brown and Company, 2017
Source: Personal Purchase
Audrey Rose Wadsworth and Thomas Cresswell (both characters introduced in Maniscalco’s book Stalking Jack the Ripper) are on their way to the Academy of Forensic Medicine and Science, housed in Bran Castle in Romania. Audrey Rose is about to enroll as the first female student; Thomas has been asked to join her as a chaperone (along with one sleepy-headed Mrs. Harvey – just to keep things proper) by her uncle who has fallen ill. That’s Bran Castle, home of Vlad the Impaler, Prince Dracula himself.
On the train to the school, a dead body is found with a stake through the heart. At the school, one of Audrey Rose’s fellow students is found dead – and drained of blood. As more bodies accumulate, we are brought deeper and deeper into a mystery, and it seems as though Drac has been resurrected. That, or there is one clever and terribly evil murderer on the loose.
This is a dark and disturbing mystery. Yes, there is the romantic tension that takes place between Audrey Rose and Thomas, but it is even more important that they stop the crimes. Without each other’s help, it is unlikely that either of them will survive.
It’s handy that this story is set in a forensics school. There are lots of opportunities for morbid reminiscences about the Jack the Ripper case, grisly descriptions of the new murders (they actually autopsy their fellow students and friends), and frankly scary wanderings through dangerous tunnels and caves – at night. Even the imagery used is dark and foreboding, with things like “leaves the color of dried wounds” (pg. 41) and “moments bled together” (pg. 257). So if this is the type of stuff that keeps you awake long into the night while pulling the covers up over your head as some feeble protection, this book should probably be a pass for you. If you don’t worry about such things, it’s an intriguing mystery and you should go for it. But don’t say I didn’t warn you.