“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.
I’ve had this in my TBR for a while and listened to the audiobook during a road trip last fall.
While the narrator’s voice for Abigail is perfect, it didn’t work for me with Jackaby’s voice, but that’s a personal issue. I appreciated Jackaby’s straightforward manner and the way he approaches the case. His interactions with some characters are prickly at best, but also amusing. Abigail is an adventurous soul and determined to live her own life and not abide by the expectations of others.
This was an entertaining enough read while driving, but I identified the killer very early in the book. I hoped for red herrings to steer me in the wrong direction or an unexpected twist – but neither happened.
With several books in the series, it’s popular with readers, so I’m probably in the minority on my opinions. I’d recommend it if you’re looking for a quick, supernatural suspense read.