This book was very entertaining. It was a new take a Jack the Ripper. I love reading anything about Jack the Ripper because let's face it, he is very interesting to read about. This book is about what happened to Jack after the Whitechapel murders. After Jack finished terrorizing London, he came to New York, to find his son, and he began his killing spree in New York. The is also interesting because it sheds some light on WHY Jack became Jack the Ripper. We find out who the man was and what he did with his life before he became the famous murderer as well as why he decided to start killing women. While everything is fictitious, it is a new and interesting take on the Ripper. Plus the fact that Jack had a son (in the story) floored me.
Carver, who is Jack's son, is an orphan living in New York. His orphanage is closing down and Ms. Petty, the head of the orphanage, has to find parents to adopt the orphans who are left in the orphanage. Carver's friend Delia is adopted by news reporters, his enemy Finn is adopted by a lawyer who loves to be in the press and Carver is adopted by a retired pinkerton detective Mr. Hawking. Carver is ecstatic at this because he wants to be a detective and he wants to find his birth father. Little does he know who his father is. Mr. Hawking sees a brilliant mind in Carver and takes him under his wing to train him to be a detective. Finding his father is Carver's first case. With the help of Mr. Hawking, Delia, Finn and Teddy Roosevelt, he finds his answer and so much more.
I like Carver a lot. He his 14 years old and want to find his father badly. Carver is brave, rash and is very intelligent. He is also very resourceful and this can be seen in many of the situations he finds himself in. He also has the habit of insulting his opponents which is not a very wise thing to do, hence his rashness. He has many ideas and follows all his leads to find his father. While I was reading the book, I was amazed at the things Carver though of to find his father. I would have never been able to come up with the new leads he does. Once Carver finds out who his father is he, becomes worried that he is just like Jack and will one day become a killer just like him.
I also liked Delia and Finn. It was nice to see how Finn and Carver went from being enemies to becoming friends at the end of the book. Finn helps Carver fight Jack and ends up getting hurt in the process but he still tries to help him. Delia does all that she can to help Carver as well. There is a small romance between Carver and Delia but it does not take the center of the story. Its more line one line sentences that gives you the feeling that they like each other. After all Carver has bigger issues to deal with than a romance. They do kiss once in the book which was sweet because of the context of the scene.
Teddy Roosevelt was the commissioner of the New York police department in the book. He was trying to clean up the corruption in the police department when the killing began to occur. I liked Roosevelt in the book. He was loud, passionate and very intelligent. It took some time but he also trusted Carver and the things he told him about the Ripper. I loved when he kept saying "Bully!" to everything. It was funny because when ever Roosevelt was in a scene I kept picturing Robin Williams as Teddy in the movie "Night at the Museum". That was the image that was in my mind every time. Also whenever the word commissioner was used (in reference to Roosevelt), I kept thinking of the Joker (played by Heath Ledger) in Batman The Dark Knight movie saying "Hello Commissioner" in that creepy voice. I also laughed when Finn said "He should run for President."
There was a lot of cool gadgets and inventions in the book in the New Pinkerton Agency. There was a stun baton, a pneumatic subway and elevator (whatever than means) and all kinds of contraptions. I'm not big into gadgets or any kind of steampunk items so that wasn't really a hugh wow factor for me. To tel the truth, when the gadgets were explained (how they looked and how they worked), it confused me, so I didn't really understand how the things worked. Oh well. Its didn't take away from the story though.
Jack the Ripper is revealed in the story and I totally guessed who he was. Well I figured the person who I guessed was either Jack or somehow involved with him. The book ends nicely although it does end on a note where there could be room for a sequel if the author chooses to write it. I recommend this book to people who are looking for an entertaining read!
This review is also posted on Spantalian's Book Reviews
Some of the Gadgets and Contraptions:Alfred Beach Pneumatic SubwayPneumatic ElevatorSpeaking TubePeriscopePneumatic Tube
~ I've seen this in some hospitals and the drive thru at some banksPhonographStun BatonElectric Carriage or TaxiPolice Headquarters Phone Switch(board)Analytical Engine