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Carver Young dreams of becoming a detective, despite growing up in an orphanage with only crime novels to encourage him. But when he is adopted by Detective Hawking of the world famous Pinkerton Agency, Carver is given not only the chance to find his biological father, he finds himself smack in the middle of a real life investigation: tracking down a vicious serial killer who has thrown New York City into utter panic. When the case begins to unfold, however, it’s worse than he could have ever imagined, and his loyalty to Mr. Hawking and the Pinkertons comes into question. As the body count rises and the investigation becomes dire, Carver must decide where his true loyalty lies.
Review by Andy
The book Ripper by Stefan Petrucha is one of the absolute best books I have ever read, and it definitely deserves any awards it has or might get. This mystery is about a young boy named Carver who wants to be a detective. This book has every element that makes a good mystery. It has some very surprising twists, shows good clues, has smart observations and a good deal of suspense.
The plot progresses quickly with lots of exciting turns. This is obvious considering that at the beginning of the book Carver is in an orphanage and eventually ends up chasing Jack the Ripper. Along the way Carver meets future president Roosevelt, lives in an asylum and researches in a secret underground base. Stefan was able to take these great ideas and turn them into an amazing book with a fast-paced plot that keeps you wondering what will happen.
The book from the mystery standpoint is fantastic too. There are many clues and a few well placed red-herrings. The way the clues are put together fit well and unlike many of those found in Arthur Conan Doyle’s work, this book gives you all the clues instead of leaving out key ones or not giving you all the information necessary. We know what Carver finds unlike in mysteries such as Sherlock Holmes where the reader doesn’t know if they are on the right track till the end. The history of this book works really well too in that there aren’t really any suspects since we don’t have any idea who the real Ripper was either.
The characters were all generally well written and had believable personalities. For example Finn’s personality is pretty rigid and influences the way he talks, acts and feels about things. The characters are well conceived and those based on real people stay true to what we know that person was like. The best written character though is either Mr. Hawking or Delia.
The book is a tiny bit slow at times but that is not a big problem. For me it was really fast paced, although I’m a fast reader, and I finished this book in basically a day not constantly reading. A slower reader may take up to two weeks, though they could probably finish in a week and a half. The excitement of certain parts speeds the book’s pace up from the slower pace near the beginning. Considering that I finish it fast since I’m a fast reader means that it is pretty fair-paced.
I would recommend this to anybody who is mature enough to read it which is basically fourth grade and up. Also, if you love mystery or reading about Jack the Ripper this is a must read with a strange theory about Jack.