Friday, July 06, 2018

Escaping from Houdini by Kerri Maniscalco

Ask any of my friends and followers and they can attest that I absolutely LOVE young adult books that involve a circus or carnival.  Books such as The Night Circus, Caraval, Carnival of Souls, etc. have always had a place in my heart, so I had incredibly high hopes for Escaping from Houdini when I read its synopsis.

Short Version - Audrey Rose and Thomas are on the RMS Etruria traveling from London to New York.  Everything is going great until a string of young women are murdered.  Their bodies are staged to reflect the Moonlight Carnival, a traveling circus.  And just when readers think Cressworth is an unbreakable duo, the mysterious Mephistopheles strolls in, threatening to steal Audrey Rose's heart.  Then begs the question, will the Cressworth bond survive this voyage or it suffer the same fate as the women slain?

"Normal is boring...Extraordinary is memorable."

So a couple of months ago, I received a copy of Stalking Jack the Ripper from the incredible Kerri Maniscalco, and immediately fell in love with the series.  So, like any other blogger, I contacted Jimmy Patterson Books asking for an Advanced Readers Copy of Escaping from Houdini.  In return, I was under the impression that I had a simple ARC in the mail.  Never, did I expect to receive a literary gem!  Not just an ordinary gem.  Oh no.  I am talking about  a beautiful, glowing sapphire or the size of a mango.

"Let's play murder, Wadsworth." -Thomas Cresswell

Audrey Rose is maddeningly frustrating in this book.  She and Thomas were in such a good place when the book began.  Their secret love affair was exhilarating as they would steal kisses in dark hallways and struggle to keep their physical contact to a minimum in public.  Then this magician shows up and throws everything off track.  I cannot recall how many times I had to silently curse Audrey Rose for her actions, all the while uttering phrases like, "What are you thinking, Audrey Rose?" or "How can you do this to my Thomas?"  (And yes, I would say MY Thomas.  Do not dare judge me).  However, I have to admit that Mephistopheles grew on me as the novel progressed.  I know, its a total 'falling for the mysterious, bad boy' cliche but its the truth.  This does not mean that I think Audrey Rose needs to be romantically involved with him, I am simply saying that I understand the attraction.

"...I took a step toward Mephistopheles.  A look of hurt flashed in Thomas's eyes..."

Kerri Maniscalco and I in Nashville, TN (June 11, 2018)
Now...on to the murder portion of the novel.  The killer in this book was more complex than the others.  This is one of the main reasons why this is my favorite book in the series.  The killer stages the bodies in a theatrical way that reflects tarot and playing cards.  This fact alone made for an interesting read, but I love where the author went with this concept.  The spree killer she brought to life puts the writers of the hit television show, Criminal Minds to shame.  With each murder, my own anxiety grew along with the passengers' on the Etruria.  With each passing page, anticipation and dread filled my core and I loved every minute of it.

"Prepare to be swept into the space between dreams and nightmares." -Mephistopheles

This novel is nothing short of a fantastic read, and quite possibly my new favorite book.  Mephistopheles warned me at the start, "Beware of midnight bargains...Are you brave enough to survive?  Perhaps you'll be another who loses their heart and their head to the midnight minstrel show."  All I can say is that I should have listened.  Although I did not lose my head, I most certainly lost my heart to the Midnight Carnival in Escaping from Houdini.

"I will love you now and always... No matter what. You have my heart wholly. The only way that will be taken is in death. And even then I will fight with every piece of me to hold your love near. Now and forevermore."

My ARC was given to my by Jimmy Patterson Books.  I have provided an honest review based on opinions that are entirely my own.  I am not entitled to any compensation for this review.  If you would like to preorder a copy of Escaping from Houdini, click here.

Genre: Young Adult Historical Fiction - Mystery
Publication Date: September 18, 2018
Publisher: Jimmy Patterson Books
ISBN: 0316551708


Hey! I am Alexandrea. I am originally from North Carolina and I love all things bookish - reading and writing are what I do best so I hope you stick around to see all that my website has to offer!

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