The day that Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London to start a new life at boarding school is also the day a series of brutal murders breaks out over the city, killings mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper spree of more than a century ago. Soon "Rippermania" takes hold of modern-day London, and the police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man police believe to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him--the only one who can see him. And now Rory has become his next target. In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, full of suspense, humor, and romance, Rory will learn the truth about the secret ghost police of London and discover her own shocking abilities.
My first Maureen Johnson book and having seen evidence of her humour online, I can safely say it transfers well into her writing. Even the murder aspects had a sense of humour in it, which was good, it stopped it from being too dark.
Like most of England, hell the world, I've always been slightly obsessed with Jack the Ripper. This was a fairly fresh take on it, a series of murders that mimic the originals and send London into a frenzy. But as the story progresses, it gets more complicated and it appears that the murderer might not even be alive. And everything is spinning around Rory, new girl in London with a strange and unwanted skill.
Rory was very funny and very easy to relate to. Moving from Louisiana to London was a big step and it was highly entertaining seeing her adapt to life in England, like understanding the school system and the rules of hockey. I'll admit, I was weary that Johnson wouldn't get the details right but she actually did it really well. And we really explored London, from sneaking onto the roof of the school and into pubs, to getting lured into abandoned tube stations.
I liked the balance between normal school life and the growing creepiness that was the murders and seeing ghosts. The sense of mystery that Johnson created, up to and including a secret part of the government that hunts ghosts, had me gripped from beginning to end. But what I really loved about this book was that the murders wasn't the main focus; I mean, it was always around but there was also friendship and humour and understanding. And that ending has left me wanting more, so bring on more Maureen Johnson!
Published 29th September 2011 by Harper Collins.