In the shocking finale to the bestselling series that began with Stalking Jack the Ripper, Audrey Rose and Thomas are on the hunt for the depraved, elusive killer known as the White City Devil. A deadly game of cat-and-mouse has them fighting to stay one step ahead of the brilliant serial killer—or see their fateful romance cut short by unspeakable tragedy.
Audrey Rose Wadsworth and Thomas Cresswell have landed in America, a bold, brash land unlike the genteel streets of London they knew. But like London, the city of Chicago hides its dark secrets well. When the two attend the spectacular World’s Fair, they find the once-in-a-lifetime event tainted with reports of missing people and unsolved murders.
Determined to help, Audrey Rose and Thomas begin their investigations, only to find themselves facing a serial killer unlike any they’ve heard of before. Identifying him is one thing, but capturing him—and getting dangerously lost in the infamous Murder Hotel he constructed as a terrifying torture device—is another.
Will Audrey Rose and Thomas see their last mystery to the end—together and in love—or will their fortunes finally run out when their most depraved adversary makes one final, devastating kill?
So, in order to produce an accurate review of this book, we are going to need to jump into a review time machine real quick.
My review of Escaping Houdini was exponentially more positive than my remembered reaction to the book. This is, because, I truly adore this series and the characters, and the sudden shift in focus from actual plot to soap opera romance drama kind of threw me, but I continued on my course of true, unadulterated Cresswell adoration. I touched on my disappointment a bit in the review, but it was definitely overshadowed by misplaced positivity.
Okay! So, back to the book at hand; that quick rewind was just to let everyone know that what I am about to describe should not have been a surprise. Oh boy. OH BOY. First Finale, now this. Why can’t the YA Historical Fiction gods GIVE ME A BREAK?
Needless to say, I was not very… impressed. Capturing the Devil completely shifted the focus from the (very compelling and historically intriguing) plot to the romance. AGAIN, don’t get me wrong, I would willingly sacrifice my happiness for the sake of Thomas Cresswell, but in the particular case, it fell short overall. I like romance in YA–I think it can be a great addition to the plot, and hel[p things along. However, in this case, I don’t think the plot needed the “help” because we had a strong writer and characters and PLOT but that was all taken over by the romance.
The entire novel was just a freaking hormone trip. There was a bit more of… the devil’s tango than I was expecting. I mean, there was a scene where Wadsworth was in the tub and I literally thought wouldn’t it be cringey if Thomas ended up in the tub too? And then ten pages later guess what was happening. It was the YA romance of my nightmares–my charming boy and independent and spunky gal were turning into something you would see on the cover of a paperback romance novel. CMON.
I will say, the devil’s tango was kind of (and this is a big freaking reach but I am trying to be positive) used for the sake of the plot. The two had little thought for societal conventions but were concerned for their families’ reputation in relation to this… tryst, after some drama came about.
Like I said, there was some very interesting plot happening here, that tied Jack the Ripper together with the infamous H.H.Holmes (the Devil in the White City) and his murder hotel situation into the plot. I had heard just enough about this very disturbing tragedy to know where it was going, and was interested to see how Maniscalco would tie it into the plot–I mean, her past novels had skillfully tied some very real, very disturbing, and very interesting pieces of history into the lives of Cresswell and Wadsworth.
NOT TODAY, HOWEVER. We were far too busy watching Wadsworth see the devil in her dreams due to her “shedding her morals” and then continuing to tango with the devil, as you will. Like, y’all, I do not care what you two do when y’all are alone but I AM HERE TO SOLVE MURDERS NOT WATCH IT HAPPEN. Geez o’pete.
SLIGHT SPOILER: but, this all came to a climax at the end of the book. Wadsworth had just gone through the hotel of horrors which was, very seriously, terrifying. It got me wound up reading and I was at the end of my seat. After she NARROWLY escaped, taking her captor to the police, does she cry? Does she have an emotional breakdown? I mean, she had been kidnapped, held captive, drugged, nearly killed, watched others be killed… All while being trapped in what seemed to be an inescapable murder hotel? So, she MUST have been super scarred and messed up, right?
WRONG apparently. Because Wadsworth escapes, to IMMEDIATELY fling herself into Cresswell’s arms where they make out in front of everyone’s family, throwing some very uncouth innuendos around for awhile.
Then, despite the fact THE ENTIRE PLOT OF THE BOOK HINGED ON THEM TRYING TO GET MARRIED they waited two years to decide to actually get married since they had just been living on the road which was EXACTLY WHAT WADSWORTH HAD BEEN SAYING SHE REFUSED TO DO FOR THE ENTIRE BOOK.
Sorry, apparently I have more emotions about this than I had realized LOL. Anyways, honestly, this book wasn’t terrible. I kept reading. I was interested. My baby Thomas was there front and center. However, in Finale style, this book fell majorly flat, and I blame it on the hormones (of the readers and the fan service that ensued lol).
Overall, this conclusion to a great series wasn’t so great (but no worse than Escaping Houdinin, honestly). If you have low expectations and are still okay with being disappointed… go for it, lol.
2.5 out of 5.