Author: William Ritter
Series: Jackaby #1
Released: September 16, 2014
Genres: F, HF, M, YA
Dates Read: April 19 – June 18, 2017
Synopsis: 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. (Goodreads)
Review: This was a short, fun read, even though it took me forever to finish. I like how fresh Ritter was able to make this as a Holmesian story–it’s set in America (essentially during Reconstruction, although that doesn’t play a huge part in the book), it has paranormal aspects scattered throughout, and it has a woman playing the Watson role (obviously not a first, but appreciated all the same). The writing was generally fast-paced, which I think works for this kind of story. It didn’t seem to drag anywhere, and it was still rife with rich details. People have described this as Doctor Who meets Sherlock; I actually kind of agree, and I’m glad it works. I look forward to the rest of the series, and I really hope Charlie gets an even bigger role in the subsequent books.
I typically don’t do well with mysteries. I sometimes get bored before everything is revealed. But I didn’t get bored with this one, probably because of the fantastical elements. I’m glad I was able to find one I could enjoy.
- “One who can see the ordinary is extraordinary indeed, Abigail Rook (69).”
- There were enough voices in my life telling me I couldn’t this, or shouldn’t that, or that I wasn’t up to the task–the last thing I intended to do was start agreeing with them (78).
- “It was so easy to get caught up in it. It felt so natural. Like how you think things ought to be when you’re a child and you’ve been reading storybooks and listening to fairy tales. I guess I forgot about being frightened because it felt good to finally be in the adventure (128).”
- “That’s insipid. Happiness is bliss–but ignorance is anesthetic, and in the face of what’s to come, that may be the best we can hope for our ill-fated acquaintances (201).”