Book Review: Ripper

Ripper by Stefan Petrucha. March 2012 (advance copy)

Grades 7-12


Carver Young is living in an orphanage in New York City. The year is 1895, seven years after the Ripper killing spree in England. Due to a financial crisis, Carver must leave the orphanage, but not before he uncovers a letter written by his father. Because of his cleverness, Carver is apprenticed to an ex-Pinkerton agent, Albert Hawking. Albert teaches Carver to think and act like a real detective, and introduces him to the new secret Pinkerton agency. Armed with new steampunk-like gadgets, Carver sets out to find out who his father is. But new Ripper murders begin occurring in New York City, and Carver’s search may lead him straight to the killer.

So I’ve mentioned before how I don’t really gravitate toward male lead characters, and it’s really time I changed that! I loved reading Carver’s perspective throughout the book as he struggles to impress Mr. Hawking and become a good detective, to figuring out what his changing feelings toward Delia mean. Reading this book from Carver’s perspective has made me want to go out and find more books from a male point of view.

The mystery also kept me turning the pages far later into the night than I should have been. The reader knows who Carter’s father is based on different letters that would appear in the book, and I thought knowing that information would make me less interested in Carter’s search, but I was wrong. It was fascinating to see Carter slowly reveal his father’s secrets. And a twist at the end had me almost falling out of my chair as I quickly flipped back and read it again and again!

I for one hope there will be many more Carver Young adventures to come!

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Lindsey L.