When I prepare to read Manzetti there is a certain ceremony to it. I do not read his work in a public place. This level of darkness is to be savored alone. No innocent bystander needs to be exposed to this razor edged text. One should approach of their own volition, understanding the nightmare to come.

Jack is Back

I do not read it fast. His work requires a slow chewing through the text, tasting and imagining the horror. I light a candle, curl up in my favorite chair and consume every twisted line. Once the last page is turned and the cover closed, I digest. I can read nothing else for at least a day. I’ve been digesting this latest work from Manzetti for a month and a half.

Whitechapel Rhapsody is everything I’ve come to love about Manzetti and more. Where much of his work I’ve read is about a fictional landscape, Whitechapel is real. Based on eleven murders that began on April 3, 1888 in the poor area known as the Whitechapel district in the East End of London, the last killing was February 13, 1891—a lucky Friday the 13th. It’s when the killings attributed to Jack the Ripper ceased…. as far as history knows.

Whitecastle Rhapsody tells the story of Jack the Ripper from both the point of view of those investigating the murders as well as Jack himself. Using well researched situations and text clipped from the original police, medical and news reports gives the already gruesome imagery the chill of reality. Not only were these bodies real, the reader comes to realize, but sometimes the victimization occurred to them after death. Not even the sanctity of coroner’s office could protect their corpse from further humiliation.

Highly recommended, but not for the sensitive reader. If gruesome and vivid imagery of death, poverty and perversion bother you, bypass this book. For those willing to look behind the curtain they will see more than the horrific true life tale of a monster. They will also see the horror that occurs in a place where life is not sacred and has no dignity, and the only god is made of copper coins.

By Angela Yuriko Smith

Angela Yuriko Smith is a third-generation Ryukyuan-American, award-winning poet, author, and publisher with 20+ years in newspapers. Publisher of Space & Time magazine (est. 1966), two-time Bram Stoker Awards® Winner, and HWA Mentor of the Year, she shares Authortunities, a free weekly calendar of author opportunities at authortunities.substack.com.

One thought on “Review: Whitechapel Rhapsody by Alessandro Manzetti”
  1. I have had the pleasure of collaborating with Alessandro Manzetti and I think you’ve given a fine picture of the experience of reading his exceptional works. Get yourself in a proper setting. His fiction, like his poetry, deserves time to digest. And make sure it’s a private place, for a private experience. Just you and the book!

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