While most of what I read is in the non-fiction section of the library…
I Love A Good Novel!
So, what makes a good novel for me? Honestly, it depends on my mood, but for sure the characters have to have depth and intelligence and the plot has to have enough challenges and interest too that I don’t already know the ending before the end of Chapter 1.
I must confess, also, that I really love having that in a series! And I like being a little late to the series party. Why, you might ask? Cause, I am a committed reader. Thus, if I get a hold of a really good book, I can finish it in a weekend (please read here, couple of days) if not a night! Therefore, it is in my emotional reading interest that I have at least a couple, if not the whole series published first, so I do not have to feel let down to have to wait for the next one.
For any authors that might be reading this; do not take me wrong, I know that those of you, with a passion for your craft put a lot of time and effort into your finished works and that to publish high quality content takes time. And I do greatly appreciate the time that you take in creating such joy for the readers of the world!
Another fact that I should state upfront, I do not believe in “age-appropriate” books! Do not get me wrong, I would not suggest the 50 Shades series to a 10 year old, but from what I have heard the writing of the story is sub-par, I do not know, I have never read any of it. I think I was turned off by the trending of it as “Mommy Porn”; what is that, even? Either it is porn or it isn’t. And if it was porn that made mainstream, good on it! But, I digress.
Back to our focus, I have read and continue to read many books and series that are labeled as Young Adult, such as the Harry Potter series and the Hunger Games series. So last year sometime, summer, I think, I discovered a series from James Patterson Presents. The author is Kerri Maniscalco and the series is Stalking Jack The Ripper, also the title of the first book in the 4 book series. (I have bittersweet feelings about only 4 books in this series)
The main character is an intelligent, strong willed and minded, young lady from an affluent titled family in 19th century London, Audrey Rose. Maniscalco does a great job of not only weaving an intricate plot with twists and turns to keep the reader guessing and sometimes even second guessing their suspicions, but, also, providing great insight into the challenges of being an intellectual and a lady in Victorian England and the world for that matter then and now.
The plot stays mostly true to the known or accepted facts of the case, where Maniscalco shines is her filing in the blank spaces that have been supposed and hypothesized for decades. Her version of the unknown aspects of the most famous violent murderer of all-time is both plausible and captivating for the reader. There are plenty of secondary plots to give the whole world of Audrey Rose depth and substance, drawing the reader into the pages heart and soul. And after you get through all the meat of the story, Maniscalco presents extras including notes on the historic liberties she has taken in retelling the story as well as juicy tidbits that while mentioned in the story were not shared, like letters to main characters.
The whole package and delivery are just extraordinary and completely refreshing in this age of seemingly reused, recycled and reduced repeats of plots with shallow characters and poor editing. While self-publishing allows for some really good writers with some not so mainstream works to make it to the public, it has also created the illusion that anyone can be a best-selling author. And Kerri Maniscalco is the whole package of a best-selling author.