Saturday, May 04, 2013

RIPPED: Jack the Ripper Made New, by Shelly Dickson Carr

"Shelly Dickson Carr"
Although this book came out last December, there hasn't been a lot of talk about it, so I thought I'd mention it as a potential cross-genre mystery for the summer reading stack. "Shelly Dickson Carr" is the pen name of Michelle Karol, a Boston-area theatre lover, and this is her first book. But if you've been reading mysteries for a while, or tend to read mid 20th century authors, you're already wondering how this author came to claim her nom de plume -- because John Dickson Carr (1906-1977) was one of the fine and very productive mystery writers of the so-called Golden Age of the genre. And the answer is: Shelly Dickson Carr is his granddaughter.

RIPPED, her first book, involves time travel and Jack the Ripper's London. It's a thriller, with gory murders, risk, suspense, and a fifteen-year-old protagonist: Katie Lennox, whose parents are dead, whose sister is a rock performer and not around, and who's living in teen misery with her London grandmother. Things look up a bit when she meets "seriously hot" Toby, who teaches her Cockney rhyming slang while they wait to enter Madame Tussaud's wax museum to see the grotesque Chamber of Horrors -- a restaging of Jack the Ripper's murders of young women in the 19th century.

When a Katie finds herself tossed abruptly into the days of the Ripper, she's bold, committed, and smart. But can she handle time travel, a vastly different way of life, and psychopathic threats, all while working out her own life and trying to save (in a strange way) her sister??

Pull this one onto your list if you collect Jack the Ripper; if you adored John Dickson Carr and his mysteries; or if you're in a parent-daughter reading group. At a chunky 500 pages, there may be a few sections you speed-read to get to the next tangle -- and by the end, you'll know a lot of Cockney slang! (In fact, the author provides a primer on her website.) As Katie discover in the second chapter, it turns what you know inside out: "I'm no one's lamb to the slaughter, Katie thought, because my parents are brown bread ..." Need a hint? The last word in "lamb to the slaughter" rhymes with daughter -- now, do you know what rhymes with the latter word in brown bread?

1 comment:

Annie Card said...

Thank you for the shout out for Shelly's book RIPPED. We just learned the book is a Silver Finalist in three categories for this year's Independent Book Publishers Association Benjamin Franklin Awards. The book is being recognized for excellence in these categories.
1. Best New Voice (Children/YA)
2. Best First Book (Fiction)
3. Best Mystery/Suspense

We'd love to have your comments on Goodreads for others to see. It's a challenge for small presses to be seen and we depend on people like yourself spreading the word. many thanks.

-Annie Card
New Book Partners