The electrifying new thriller from New York Times bestseller Stephen Hunter takes you deep inside the mind of the most notorious serial killer of all time: Jack the Ripper.
In the fall of 1888, Jack the Ripper slaughtered five prostitutes in London's seamy Whitechapel District. He did not just kill - he ripped with a butcher's glee - and then, after the particularly gruesome slaying of Mary Jane Kelly, he disappeared. For 127 years, Jack has haunted the dark corners of our imagination, the paradigm of the psychotic killer. We remember him not only for his crimes, but because, despite one of the biggest dragnets in London history, he was never caught.
I, Ripper is a vivid reimagining of Jack's personal story entwined with that of an Irish journalist who covered the case, knew the principals, charted the investigation, and at last, stymied, went off in a bold new direction. These two men stalk each other through a city twisted in fear of the madman's blade, a cat-and-mouse game that brings to life the sounds and smells of the fleshpot tenderloin of Whitechapel and all the lurid acts that fueled the Ripper headlines.
Dripping with intrigue, atmosphere, and diabolical twists, this is a magnificent psychological thriller from perennial New York Times bestseller Stephen Hunter, who the San Francisco Examiner calls "one of the best storytellers of his generation."
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I REALLY wanted to love this book; I really tried.
Sadly, I couldn't recommend this book to anyone.
There was clearly an effort to provide a sensational flair and an elaborate twist to the Ripper story, but sadly, it fell quite short of the mark. I guessed the who the Ripper was the moment he was introduced. I have a high tolerance for grisly violence, but this book was hard for even me to stomach. I disliked it from the start, but doggedly came back to it after finishing several other books along the way, hoping my reaction would be more favorable. It wasn't. The twists meant to startle, stump or stun were weak and unbelievable. I kept falling asleep near the end, having to go back and re-listen; very strange for what should have been the most exciting part!I'm a great fan of the Ripper mystery and follow all renditions, in print, audio or on screen. I'm disappointed that this one was barely "meh".
Unfortunately, I found the narrator's voice very unpleasant, especially when speaking as the Ripper. It grated on my nerves, another factor causing me to pause and go off to other books multiple times. I think strident, with the sensation of fingernails on the chalkboard, may capture my opinion. Even after I forced myself to tolerate the voice, I found myself losing track of which character was speaking, even though a clear effort went into giving the key characters distinctive voices.
The book mostly sparked disappointment, with a dash of annoyance and recurring disgust. As noted, the grisly details were just that. Language can be so much more eloquent, even when portraying graphic images. If shock value was the goal, it still fails. The story has so much unfulfilled potential. There was great effort expended in the characters, but I couldn't warm up to any. Really too bad.
I will probably avoid both author and narrator in the future.
- CARL O. COOPER