Ripper by Stefan Petrucha is about Carver Young, a young orphan in New Yorkin the late 1800s, who desires nothing more than to be a detective. While investigating his own mysterious past, he uncovers a letter from his father and writes to the commissioner of the police (Teddy Roosevelt) about his quest.
Roosevelt is prompted to make a high-profile visit to the orphanage, during which Carver is adopted by a former Pinkerton detective. Carver soon discovers that the manhunt for Jack the Ripper, who has reappeared in New York after his slew of slaying in England, coincides too well with his manhunt for his father. Could they be one and the same?
Ripper is an interesting premise, with a lot of fun steampunk elements thrown in. I wondered why I was struggling to finish the book, when it occurred to me that I was a little over halfway finished, yet only on CHAPTER FIFTY-NINE! Yes, there are EIGHTY-FIVE CHAPTERS! No wonder I was tired of it.
It wasn't hard to figure out who Carver's mysterious father could be after reading the cover flap. There are some surprises in store, if you stick it out to the bitter end. The serial killer story is quite gruesome. Slayings and blood abound, as well as the word, "whore," used to describe Jack's British victims. Other than that, I didn't find anything to take issue with. No hidden agendas as I found in Terry Pratchett's Dodger.
I'd say Ripper is appropriate for teens, thirteen and up, provided they have a strong stomach for throat slashings. Keep in mind that author Stefan Petrucha's literary background includes a good bit of horror.
I'm trying something a little lighter after Ripper, some YA romance will cleanse my palate.
Or will it? duh-duh-duh-dunnnnnnn.