Newly arrived in New Fiddleham, New England, 1892, and in need of a job, Abigail Rook meets R. F. Jackaby, an investigator of the unexplained with a keen eye for the extraordinary–including the ability to see supernatural beings. Abigail has a gift for noticing ordinary but important details, which makes her perfect for the position of Jackaby’s assistant. On her first day, Abigail finds herself in the midst of a thrilling case: A serial killer is on the loose. The police are convinced it’s an ordinary villain, but Jackaby is certain it’s a nonhuman creature, whose existence the police–with the exception of a handsome young detective named Charlie Cane–deny.1
Jackaby is not a word I am familiar with and I wonder how many of you have heard of Jackaby by William Ritter? A day late picking up a book from the library, I lost my place in line and had to interrupt my planned reading. Scrolling through the list of audiobooks I took a chance on Jackaby with the cover only being vaguely familiar. After only a few minutes I knew there was something different about this book.
Abigail Rook has always sought adventure after living in her father’s shadow. Using the tuition money for school she sets out on her own adventure, only to find the glory of discovery is rather non-existant. After a mix up brings her to America she tries to have a fresh start in the town of New Fiddleham. Her search for employment brings her to a strange house owned by an even stranger man by the name of Jackaby. Tagging along with Jackaby to discuss her possible employment, he refuses and insists that the job is not for her. Not taking no for an answer, Abigail tricks her way into a crime scene, much to the surprise of Jackaby. Once crossing that police perimeter Abigail has stumbled upon a gruesome murder and there is no turning back. While Jackaby sees those things that most common people do not, Abigail sees things for what they are, complimenting Jackaby. When their killer becomes a serial killer, the reality of the situation becomes far from Abigail’s definition of reality.
Jackaby is a delightful detective tale with a supernatural twist highlighted by elements reminiscent to that of Harry Potter. Ritter has spun a story full of adventure, whimsy, laughter and beautiful prose; one I will gladly add to my personal library. Although the audiobook does not directly reflect the story, the choice of reader for this book had a perfectly delightful British accent adding the cherry to the top of this experience. I am thrilled to see that there is a short story called The Map, following the events of Jackaby. Even more exciting is the fact that a follow up novel to Jackaby called Beastly Bones is set to be released on September 22, 2015. Stay tuned for my reviews for each of these stories.
- Book summary courtesy of William Ritter’s webpage