Review: Jackaby by William Ritter

jackaby by william ritter

“Miss Rook, I am not an occultist,” Jackaby said. “I have a gift that allows me to see truth where others see the illusion–and there are many illusions. All the world’s a stage, as they say, and I seem to have the only seat in the house with a view behind the curtain.”

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.

Description taken from Goodreads.


One word: Sherlock.

Never watched it, never plan to.

As all the other reviews I have read are from the point of view of a Sherlock addict, it was an interesting experience getting to see something Sherlock-esque.

When I started reading JACKABY, I definitely did not expect the humor. The style of dialogue, wit and character in JACKABY was hilariously done to the point that in between the strings of mystery there was always something to make me laugh. As a result, the pace was never boring and the characters even more enjoyable.

I think my favorite character, by far, was Jackaby himself. I loved his relationships with others as well as his individual character. He’s eccentric and often times whimsical, giving his the aura of some kind of Peter Pan. While this is annoying at times, most of the time it’s endearing and adds his multi-dimensionalism.

JACKABY is in no way the greatest mystery I’ve ever read, but it is certainly one of the most entertaining and charming. It’s not so predictable that I can make sense of it right away and yet, not so clever that I’m constantly lost (a good and bad thing).

Overall, JACKABY is a great story. There’s no real love plot, the cover is intriguing, it’s suitable for both the MG and YA crowds, it’s charming and light and it’s not so paranormal that I didn’t like it. Great read for young mystery fans. 4.3 stars.

pg count for the hardback: 299

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