Killing Jane: Stacy Green
Was Jack the Ripper a woman? Could someone have committed all accounts of his murder other then a man? Enter Erin Prince, lead investigator. Erin has been assigned along with her new partner, Todd Beckett to investigate the gruesome murder of Bonnie Archer a young woman whose past and present were quite questionable. Throughout the novel you the reader will meet many people who played an important role in Bonnie’s life including her parents Neil and Carmen Archer as well as her Uncle Simon and Aunt Melissa. Bonnie was abused and molested as a child and when the murder comes to light and the evidence is revealed Erin finds it difficult to fathom why someone would create a murder scene so gruesome and horrific. As the investigation proceeds she and her partner come up against many walls and many people who are not forthcoming including Sarah Archer, Bonnie’s cousin who had just reconnected with her after many years.
The story opens with an open letter signed JTR 31 August 1888. But, is it real and the words that start this note say: I am compelled to do this horrible thing. But, did Jack the Ripper really write it and when the authorities back then learned about Jane Blackwood they discounted that she might be the one who really committed the murders. Entering the murder scene affects her deeply and her own rape and abuse as a young girl comes traveling back into her mind as she meets with Sergeant Clark, Beckett and the crime scene team. Marie Valari is part of the Forensic Science Division at Metro P.S. and what she found would start them off in many directions as we learn more about Bonnie, her lifestyle and why someone wanted to silence her. Living in a place that cost 1800 dollars a month, working creating and filming porn videos, taking out her frustrations on herself allowing herself to be abused, beaten and seriously injured in a sexual fashion, Bonnie Archer had esteem issues and thought that she deserved the pain she allowed others to inflict on her. The killer cut her throat from side to side, jabbed the knife straight into her throat, shredding her larynx like shredded meat. Slashing her over and over again it would seem that whoever did is was enraged, angry and wanted to inflict on her a slow and painful death. But why?
Will Merritt was her boyfriend or at least someone she was seeing but not on a serious basis and he wanted to help in anyway he could to find her killer. The killer brought and carried stuff along with him/her to torture Bonnie. Underneath the sheets was the following: 1888 Bucks’ Row in long, pointed blood stained letters but in reality there was no Buck’s Row in the District or any neighborhood with slang names. Erin had some advantages when questioning family members and disadvantages as she was referred to by her co-workers and the press as Princess Prince since her father is a very powerful and influential man who gave money to the Republican Governors and was well respected as was her Uncle Simon. Family secrets, lies and deceits come full circle as Erin finds herself in the center of many controversies, disputes and even has her skills as an investigator questioned by her superiors and her own partner at times. Mistakes are made as well as interviews handled poorly as another murder of a college professor follows the heat is on to solve the case before someone else is killed.
Erin needs to become tougher and stop feeling sorry for herself and deal with her first case as lead homicide investigator and not handle it as if she was dealing with a drug dealer but a woman torn to shreds. As she learns about the death of Ted Moore who just might be linked to the rape and murder of Bonnie but how. Moore was the CEO of Endeavor Entertainment which was a multi-million-dollar cable network. This case being high profile would either make or break her career. With Sergeant Clark dealing with the press and hoping to get a warrant for her phone records and more will she break under the pressure? Interviewing Merritt the boyfriend would reveal that Bonnie took drugs, was getting help in the way of therapy and was supposedly clean. The investigation takes many u-turns and has many curves with roadblocks as the author allows readers to get to know the killer in a graphic and startling manner through letters and notes written and signed JTR. But, before we learn more about the murder of the college professor we hear and see Beckett taking over the interview Erin was having with Will Merritt making her feel incompetent. As the forensic experts find a note that would confirm that the investigative office back when the real Ripper was committing crimes states: Abberline was right! Jane.
A phone call on her private number from a child named Mina asking for her help and saying that Jane will do it again if she does not stop her sends her in the direction of hoping to find this child as she questions her suspects, asks family members if they know anyone named Jane, Mina or Charlie the boy protecting Mina, and the answer came up from all of them as NO.
Calvin Prince is her father and although his influence would help her he was displeased with her choice of profession. Added in her brother Brad came out and she has a 9-year-old daughter named Abby that might be in danger as a result of her past and the investigation. Just how far will she have to dig and why was this affecting her personal life and at times she even questioned her skills as an investigator as Beckett had to take over more than once when she interviewed the boyfriend and Bonnie’s parents. But one thing was apparent that both the boyfriend and the parents were lying and holding back information and this might have caused the death of the next victim Victoria Walton. Things get more horrific with her murder and the truth about her lifestyle as the author reveals more about the killer and we get to know Lisa, Erin’s stepsister who is the Executive Vice President of Information Systems and Global Solutions and who tries everyway she can to demean Erin as their relationship as stepsisters was never close. When Lisa learns that she is questioning Will Merritt she is angry she was not informed but Erin explains she did not need her permission to try and solve her case and that he was not a suspect but what was he withholding? As the cases intertwine and we learn more about the link between Bonnie and Victoria we learn that Bonnie attended the Adult Learning Center hoping to get her GED then join the Pathways Program hoping to become a teacher.
Delving further into her life we meet her boss as the dance club called Sid’s who appeared to care about her, allowed her to do exotic dancing but claimed he protected her but in reality you won’t believe what is uncovered.
The more Erin and Beckett investigate the more it seems that there might be more than one suspect as we learn some hidden secrets about Simon Archer and the power he and his wife yielded and still yield over Bonnie’s parents Carmine and Neil. The end result will shock readers as more taunts from the killer are revealed and Mina reaches out to Erin but when she comes face to face with the killer and realizes that sometimes someone is hiding in plain sight you won’t believe who the killer is and why the killings were done. When the killer is revealed and finally arrested what the final outcome is brings discord between Erin and Beckett and since she is the lead she does not have the final say but her opinion counted and weighed heavily as the killer might get away with what he/she did, might or might not stand trial as the issues of child abuse, dissociative identity disorder, mental illness, drug abuse, sexual and emotional abuse, distrust, betrayals and lies are brought to light as we learn what happens when someone tries to Kill Jane. Erin is just starting out in her career and has a long way to go and needs to have more confidence in herself to do her job and Beckett needs to support her and not criticize her in public or in front of those she is interviewing. Somehow they need to come to a happy medium if they are going to work together again. Family loyalties, family lies and secrets and a what happens when all is said and done and Erin has to decide whether to reconnect with someone close to her to, Killing Jane: Is Jack the Ripper: MALE OR FEMALE as the author allows readers one more clue but for that you will have to read the final pages yourself of this complex, thought provoking novel.
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ magazine