Jackaby (Jackaby #1) by William Ritter #YA #historicalmystery

“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.


17 thoughts on “Jackaby (Jackaby #1) by William Ritter #YA #historicalmystery

    1. If you like it, there are several in the series to add to your TBR. Sometimes I think audiobook narrators influence my like/dislike for books. I’ve had some that were outstanding, and others that just didn’t work for me.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. This sounds interesting, Teri, but not as “me” as some of the horror and sci-fi books you have shared reviews of. I miss listening to audio books while driving. I don’t get much free time to listen to audio books lately. I definitely have less time now that before the lockdown. I think my work is busier as so many companies are needing help to overcome financial constraints.

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    1. It had excellent reviews and I’d bought it on sale one day, but I don’t plan on continuing the series. I prefer fantasy, horror, and sci-fi, but I’ve also come across some really good YA thrillers.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sophie @BewareOfTheReader

    Narrators can make or break a book for me! Now as I rarely read thrillers and mysteries I probably would never have guessed LOL

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha – that’s exactly what I said above before I saw your comment, Sophie! In this case, it seemed really obvious who the murderer was, and that’s why I kept thinking it must have been a misdirection.


  3. Thanks for the mindful review Teri. I love the cover — it draws me. So your feedback is good to keep in mind before committing my time to the book. (When I was in my early teens I used to drive my father up the wall by telling him “who done it” within five minutes of a TV show starting. But that was the 70s.) Anyway, I like things that are hard to predict. Have a wonderful weekend. Hugs on the wing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do that with hubby now – drives him bonkers, lol. I wish it would have left me guessing a little longer, Teagan, but the detail that gave it away was mentioned pretty early in the book. Hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. “a tale brimming with cheeky humor and a dose of the macabre? sounds good to me, but it would be a little disappointing to figure out who the killer was early on. I have the a similar reaction to some audio books, Teri. Unless there are readers who are extremely skilled at male and female voices, I actually prefer a straight read. I like the cover. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This narrator was wonderful with the female voice, but didn’t work for me with Jackaby’s. I loved the cheeky humor (and it definitely had some), but as I mentioned to Teagan, the detail that gave away whodunit was mentioned pretty early in the story. I like more misdirection in my mysteries.

      Liked by 1 person

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