Jackaby by William Ritter | Book Talk

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.

“This world is full of dragon-slayers. What we need are a few more people who aren’t too proud to listen to a fish.”
I started this story expecting a time-traveling Sherlock Holmes because I associate Doctor Who with time travel for some reason. Big whoops. When it is said the Doctor Who meets Sherlock is actually a man with Sherlock’s intellectual mind but with the 10/11th Doctor’s personality. Also, this Sherlock/Doctor infusion has a companion.
While time travel is nowhere near involved in this story, it is heavy on the whole supernatural aspect. Ghosts, trolls, witches, werewolves…you name it. So, the lack of time travel makes up with a big shigban of supernatural.
The story is told through Abigail Rook, a young girl who ran away from the high lady life for an adventure (and dinosaurs). She arrives to the Fiddlehamn, New England and immediately searches for a job. In her quest to find a job to keep her alive in the world she comes across a “Assistant Wanted” sign and immediately rushes to apply for the job. There she meets R. F. Jackaby.
Right off the bat, the adventure starts. Abigail joins Jackaby on a mysterious murder case…a supernatural murder case.
Even though the story was a quick and fun one, I did not grow attached to any characters. The story was plot driven 100%, and while this is not necessarily a bad thing I still feel like I barely know Jackaby or Abigail. We got snips of information here and there, but not enough for me to have the feels and claim these characters as my children. (I still really enjoyed them though!)
The pacing is too quick, there was hardly any breathing room. I can’t believe I am going to say this…but I wish the story would have slowed down. 30 pages in we are already in the case, and I was left like “Whoa what, slow down book.”
I guess it is okay, because this a mystery novel and Ritter wanted us in the case as quickly as possible…there was a killer on the loose and we had to catch him/her.
As someone who is detailed oriented, I was fascinated by the amount of description the book held. It was not J.K Rowling or Erin Morgernstern detailed heavy, but Ritter gives you enough detail to let you know who the killer is half way through the book (only if you are paying, close attention…which I did not). But I guess since this is a Sherlock/Doctor Who like book that amount of detail is necessary.

“Maybe if you would bother reading a book once in a while instead of hurling them about every chance you get, you would have put the pieces together yourself by now”

Even though I did enjoy the adventure I was put in, it was not enough for me to go back and re-live it again. I will continue on with the series, but it will not be a set of books that I will re-read again anytime soon.
If you are up for a mystery supernatural adventure with a really fast pacing I suggest for you to pick up Jackaby solve the case of the supernatural killer.


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