Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco

My rating: 4/5 stars

The second book from the Audrey Rose series came with a surprise – the location of the book is in Romania, my home country. I know that Romania is famous for the Dracula legends, although not all of them are true, just a result of folklore and some historical things that were driven out of context and became very commercial for our tourism. Nevertheless, it was fun reading about Bucharest and Brasov and seeing how all the names were mostly Romanian.

After the happenings with Jack The Ripper and the traumatic events which Audrey lived, her father decided to sent her to one of the best forensic schools is Europe. Where? In Romania. Alone? No, with Thomas by her side. So, together they begin another adventure, this time outside of London’s comfort and familiarity. Romania is very different from what Audrey imagined, a place driven by traditions and legends, and exactly like in her home country, women don’t seem to belong in a forensic school. This thing was the least of Audrey’s problems, because soon after entering Romanian territory, she and Thomas witnessed a crime in the Orient Express they travelled, a crime which was linked to Dracula, the body being impaled and having a powerful smell of garlic. From this point on, Audrey and Thomas have to deal with their activity at the Institute and solving a case which seems to pin point the return of Prince Dracula.

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Audrey and Thomas were very strong in this story, and not only at the good aspects. Audrey was facing PTSD from what happen to Jack The Ripper and unfortunately, Thomas was not very helpful in that aspect, even if his best intentions were to help her heal. Besides that, Audrey is having a hard time coping with her colleagues, because everybody is looking at her strangely, being a girl. Nobody is seeing her has a very intelligent and potentially brilliant detective and forensic, they only see she is female and judge. The professors are harsh, the kids are cold, but she keeps on fighting to prove them wrong.

Audrey and Thomas fight, but they also have lovely and tender moments, and their status is slowly changing to friends/partners to more than that. Thomas is dealing with his Romanian roots and struggles to find his own identity and in the same time help Audrey solve this twisted case. When other bodies are found dead and drained out of blood, everybody believed Dracula is getting near by the second. New characters will be introduced, family links that are very nice to watch and the plot will be built nicely around them.

Why only 4 stars? Because the book was longer than the actual point of interest. There were many chapters without sense of usage and I think the plot was longer than it meant to be. Furthermore, the case built up to a boiling point, but when the time to unravel everything came, the result was kind of disappointing. I would have imagined something more dramatic, a more worked over finale, considering the many clues and murders that took place and which could be used in other constructive ways. It was unnecessarily long and had some blank and mostly boring moments. 😦

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