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Jackaby

Review

Jackaby

On a desperate search for adventure, Abigail Rook impulsively sets sail on a boat across the Atlantic and arrives in the wintry New England town of New Fiddleham. Abigail happens upon a job listing for an investigative assistant, which transports her to the doorstep of one R.F. Jackaby, a private detective who specializes in spectacular and unexplainable phenomena. But with his hideous cap, coat pockets bulging with an assortment of unusual items and claim that he can see supernatural beings, Jackaby is quite the spectacle himself. Despite her initial incredulity and cautions from several townspeople to stay away from Jackaby, Abigail accepts the assistant position and accompanies Jackaby to his next case.

The pair arrive at the scene of a brutal murder and Jackaby is immediately certain that supernatural forces are at work. To the exasperation of the police force, who view him as a scatterbrained lunatic, Jackaby commences his investigation by employing his usual odd tactics to pick up on clues only he can see. Surprisingly, Abigail finds herself well-suited to Jackaby’s line of work, as her logical and observant mind acts as the perfect complement to Jackaby’s extensive knowledge of and affinity to the supernatural realm. With the help of detective Charlie Cane, a kind police officer who indulges Jackaby’s whimsy, the trio realize they are on the hunt for a vicious and powerful serial killer and may just be the next targets of his wrath.

Jackaby’s quirky disposition and oblivion to social norms never fail to charm, humor and captivate readers, while Abigail’s mix of compassion and bold determination make her a refreshing narrator.

JACKABY provides an enthralling 19th-century setting and an incredibly unique and entertaining title character. Jackaby’s quirky disposition and oblivion to social norms never fail to charm, humor and captivate readers, while Abigail’s mix of compassion and bold determination make her a refreshing narrator. The cast of side characters, both human and supernatural, are just as enchanting and lively as the star investigative duo. Ritter’s impressive knowledge of folklore and fantasy, combined with fluid and effortless storytelling, renders JACKABY a rich and authentic novel. Here’s to hoping there are many more adventures featuring the incomparable and tireless Jackaby.

Reviewed by Sabrina Abballe on September 17, 2014

Jackaby
(Jackaby #1)
by William Ritter