Ripper: a new (YA) take on an old story

Ripper-smlRipper by Stefan Petrucha offers a new take on a well-known story.

There are many books about Jack the Ripper. Like many others I have always found the topic fascinating and I enjoyed the new take on the tale in this one. In particular I enjoyed the way that both documented history and literary texts have been used to create a suspenseful and dramatic tale of intrigue. It is a very well executed YA mystery that is fast-paced and with plenty of plot twists and turns right up until the end of the story. The end notes include information about the historical aspects of the story and the unique gadgets that may or may not be real. The author’s website has further detail and some great b&w images from the era.

The ending is satisfying but there are also plenty of options for a sequel. I have heard there is one on the way.

The cover, of the edition we have, is also interesting with the map of early New York being torn (or ripped) apart.

The story is set in 1895 New York. Theodore Roosevelt is the head of a terribly corrupt New York Police Department and 14-year-old Carver Young is an orphan living at the Ellis Orphanage. His life is made difficult by the institution bully Finn and his only real friend is the very bright and inquisitive Delia. The decision is made to close the Ellis and move it so they, as the three oldest orphans, must leave the institution and find positions or families. Carver, who relishes the idea of becoming a famous detective, gets “adopted” by a mysterious old man Albert Hawking, who was a famous detective and is now part of a secret society of detectives – The new Pinkertons.  Carver is desperate to find any information about his father and this becomes his first assignment. In addition women from the elite social circles are being murdered and it seems the slasher might just be the famous Jack the Ripper. Carver’s new mentor is on the case and he challenges Carver to use all hits wits and natural skills to assist him. Using all the resources that are available to him in his new position, which include some amazing gadgets and the vast Pinkerton library, the somewhat nefarious skills he learned in the orphanage including lock-picking, and the help of Delia, who has been “adopted” by a newspaper reporter, Carver embarks on a hunt that will change everything about his life, forever. A worrying question soon arises for Carver, is there some link between the terror and his father?

There is a book trailer that I think is interesting but it has a 60’s or 70’s feel rather than one representing the feel of the late 1800’s

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