Review: Jackaby by William Ritter


Synopsis from Good Reads:

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.

Doctor Who meets Sherlock in William Ritter’s debut novel, which features a detective of the paranormal as seen through the eyes of his adventurous and intelligent assistant in a tale brimming with cheeky humor and a dose of the macabre.

I received a copy of this title from NetGalley. It does not impact my review.

This was such a fun, odd book! I loved the characters and the witty dialogue.

As the synopsis suggests, Jackaby is a bit of a mix of Sherlock and Doctor Who. He’s a quirky detective with a gift of observing the supernatural. Abigail Rook has run away from home looking for adventure, but finds herself in New Fiddleham looking for work. She answers an ad for Jackaby’s assistant, “Must be literate and possess a keen intellect and open mind. Strong stomach preferred…Do not stare at the frog,” and a new partnership is formed.

The story follows Jackaby and Abigail as they investigate a serial murderer and Jackaby introduces Abigail to the supernatural elements in the world she’s always been missing. While a couple of the twists were a little predictable, it was still a fun and surprisingly humorous journey.

The story is told through Abigail’s 1st person POV and I was impressed with how well Ritter pulled it off. I can’t recall the last book I’ve read where a male author gives a female 1st person POV. And not only a female POV, but a YA female POV. Abigail was likable and relatable and at times girly, but in a realistic and un-annoying way. Jackaby is a fun and enjoyable character and every scene with him was humorous. While he was very present throughout the story, I almost wish there was still more of him. Rounding out the rest of the quirky and enjoyable cast are Jenny the ghost, Douglas the duck, and Charlie the cop.

Overall, I really enjoyed Jackaby. It was a cleverly written fun, easy read with a great sense  of humor. I’m unsure if this is a standalone or a series, but I’m really hoping it’s a series, as I would love to see more of these characters. I definitely recommend this book to fans of Sherlock, Doctor Who, mysteries, and the supernatural.

Jackaby is available September 16, 2014.

Rating (out of 5):
Plot: 3.5
Characters: 4
Readability: 4
Enjoyability: 4
Overall Rating: 3.875 stars

16 thoughts on “Review: Jackaby by William Ritter

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