Trevor's Reviews > Ripper

Ripper by Stefan Petrucha
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Mar 14, 2012

it was ok
Read from March 30 to April 07, 2012

A lot of people on this site seem to REALLY like this book, so maybe the problem is with me. I mean, I wanted to like it. I'm a sucker for Jack the Ripper stories, and Teddy Roosevelt is my favorite President. A fictional story pitting the two against each other should be right up my alley. But, in the end, I just found this one to be annoyingly over-plotted and convoluted. Carver Young, the 14-year-old orphan hero of the book, goes on a search for his father, which ends up getting him enlisted into a secret underground off-shoot of the famous Pinkerton Detective Agency. At first I was annoyed by how everyone in this agency just instantly treats this young kid like he's the next coming of Sherlock Holmes, giving him free reign to their headquarters and equipment. When it was eventually revealed that this was actually something of a ruse, and they were simply using Carver, I thought maybe I would start to like the book better, but this is just the first of way too many twists and double-crosses to come. It feels like every other chapter Carver is learning about another lie or subterfuge done to either throw him off his search or make him a better detective. It's exhausting in the same way watching the third Pirates of the Caribbean movie was. But the time you get to the big final twist of the story, involving the Ripper's identity, it's just hard to care (also, since we've been constantly made aware of Carver's amazing detective skills, this final reveal asks us to suddenly accept a stunningly inept lack of observational skills from our hero). I suppose it's sort of neat how Petrucha weaves in actual historical figures and events - I particularly enjoyed his use of a young Alice Roosevelt, here a wild young girl always getting on her father's nerves. But, overall, the constant game of "bet you didn't see that coming" just sunk this one for me.
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04/01/2012 page 30
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