Small Favors by Erin A. Craig #bookreview #YA #darkfantasy #thriller #TuesdayBookBlog

Ellerie Downing lives in the quiet town of Amity Falls in the Blackspire Mountain range–five narrow peaks stretching into the sky like a grasping hand, bordered by a nearly impenetrable forest from which the early townsfolk fought off the devils in the woods. To this day, visitors are few and rare. But when a supply party goes missing, some worry that the monsters that once stalked the region have returned.

As fall turns to winter, more strange activities plague the town. They point to a tribe of devilish and mystical creatures who promise to fulfill the residents’ deepest desires, however grand and impossible, for just a small favor. But their true intentions are much more sinister, and Ellerie finds herself in a race against time before all of Amity Falls, her family, and the boy she loves go up in flames.

This is the second book I’ve read by this author, and I’ll be waiting in line for her third no matter what it is.

Don’t be deceived by the calming, flower-filled cover. Inside is a chilling, dark fantasy that will make you hesitate before entering the woods ever again. I count the movie The Village directed by M. Night Shyamalan as one of my favorites, and this book shares many similarities with it – a small, tightly knit community, strange activities in the town, deadly creatures in the forest, and a MC who’s determined she and her family will survive. There are also shades of Stephen King’s Needful Things with some of the townfolks’ deepest desires being fulfilled.

The first few chapters introduce readers to a simpler kind of life and allow them to become acquainted with the isolated town, its residents, and their daily activities. Ellerie’s idyllic life of learning beekeeping from her father, cooking with her mother, and playing with her little sister begins sliding away a piece at a time after a supply party goes missing. Visitors, a rare event, show up in town, and one is especially intriguing to her. Whitaker’s motivations were a mystery to me throughout the story, and I wasn’t sure if I should trust him. Soon the town is plagued with deformed animals, strange bouts of weather, and a lack of food before neighbors turn against each other in vengeance and hatred. I’m talking a serious spiraling of events, folks. Some of these scenes aren’t for the faint of heart.

This slow burn dark fantasy pulls you in a page at a time, and before long you’ll notice the book is super glued to your hands. It felt like 350 pages instead of nearly 500 to me. Fans of The Village, Needful Things, and dark fantasy will spend several engrossing hours reading Small Favors and shutting out the world around them. Just be careful when you go into the woods.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Simulated (Calculated #2) by Nova McBee #bookreview #YA #thriller #TuesdayBookBlog

From Young-Adult author Nova McBee comes the second book in the gritty, action-filled Calculated series.

Jo Rivers, safely back in Seattle, asks the same question daily—how does a math genius go from taking down international criminals and saving the world economy to living a normal teenage life? The only answer she can come up with is—she doesn’t.

With an overprotective father on her back and Kai on the other side of the world, Jo accepts an offer from Prodigy Stealth Solutions (PSS), who may have found a way to get her gift back. Using a newly developed technology, PSS tries a simulation process on Jo to restore her abilities, but during the attempt, PSS is hacked and a blacklist file containing some of PSS’s most sensitive secrets is stolen. Meanwhile, a mysterious caller who seems to know more than he should delivers a warning to Jo about Kai, who then goes missing.

Despite her father’s concerns, Jo sets off on a risky trip to Tunisia with a PSS team of teen prodigies to find an urgently needed solution for PSS and locate Kai. All the while, Jo has to trust the mysterious informant who, frighteningly, is like no one she has ever met before.

I just finished the first book in this series, Calculated, in November so I was thrilled to see the sequel available so soon on NetGalley.

The second book starts with a slower pace of life for Jo back in Seattle. In the first book, she relied on her gift, the ability to see numbers everywhere and in everything, to make mathematical-based decisions. While Calculated is intricately plotted and full of action, Simulated has a bit of a different feel. At the end of Calculated Jo had lost her gift and is now like a fish out of water struggling to live without it. With the help of PSS and their simulations, she’s fighting to awaken it, but things aren’t going so well. Without the numbers to back her up, Jo is unsure of herself and her decisions, but then a mysterious hacker appears in her sims and guarantees he can help her regain her gift. I feel like most readers will figure out the identity of this hacker early on. Wickedly intelligent and good-hearted, he brings an addional layer of mystery and intrigue to the story. Jo wants to trust him, but her team and boss aren’t as convinced, and she finds herself at a crossroads in her life.

Jo is soon on a plane headed for a mission in Tunisia, but also with a secret agenda of locating Kai. As with the Shanghai setting in the first book, this novel immerses the reader in the country and culture of Tunisia (I especially enjoyed the food!). There’s no sophomore slump here. This heart-pounding sequel offers just as many dangerous and harrowing moments – especially since Jo can’t rely on the numbers and doesn’t hesitate to take risks. Several new characters are introduced, and I enjoyed meeting the other prods (prodigies) on her team.

I wasn’t sure if this was a duology or trilogy, but upon reaching the end I was thrilled to learn there’s a third book in the works. The epilogue offers a surprise that gives a hint where the next story may be headed. If you enjoy intelligent thrillers with spies, covert missions, and surprising twists (and math that’s faaaar out of your lane), add this series to your TBR.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Harbinger (Wake-Robin Ridge #3) by Marcia Meara #bookreview #supernatural #suspense #TuesdayBookBlog

Continuing in the tradition of Wake-Robin Ridge and A Boy Named Rabbit, Marcia Meara’s North Carolina mountain series takes a shivery turn with the Appalachian Legend of Ol’ Shuck, the Harbinger of Death.

“. . . he felt the wet slide of the dog’s burning hot tongue on his face, and the scrape of its razor sharp teeth against the top of his head. A white-hot agony of crushing pain followed, as the jaws began to close.”

The wine-red trillium that carpets the forests of the North Carolina Mountains is considered a welcome harbinger of spring—but not all such omens are happy ones. An Appalachian legend claims the Black Dog, or Ol’ Shuck, as he’s often called, is a harbinger of death. If you see him, you or someone you know is going to die.

But what happens when Ol’ Shuck starts coming for you in your dreams? Nightmares of epic proportions haunt the deacon of the Light of Grace Baptist Church, and bring terror into the lives of everyone around him. Even MacKenzie Cole and his adopted son, Rabbit, find themselves pulled into danger.

When Sheriff Raleigh Wardell asks Mac and Rabbit to help him solve a twenty-year-old cold case, Rabbit’s visions of a little girl lost set them on a path that soon collides with that of a desperate man being slowly driven mad by guilt.

As Rabbit’s gift of the Sight grows ever more powerful, his commitment to those who seek justice grows as well, even when their pleas come from beyond the grave.

I’ve said it before, but I’d love to join this family. Although fictional, I guarantee they feel very real when you’re immersed in these books.

Rabbit captured my heart in the second book, and I adore him even more now. His interactions with his little sister are so sweet, and he’s a perfect big brother. One of my favorite parts of the story is when Rabbit is struck nearly speechless when meeting the sister of his best friend – and then tells his mother what he saw in his future. These lighthearted times are a balance to the bleaker parts of the story as Rabbit takes a lot on his young shoulders while using his gift to find the body of a girl murdered several years before. Although not even a teenager, he’s an old soul wise beyond his years and is very insightful when it comes to people and their actions. His adoptive parents, Mac and Sarah, are protective of him, but also understand how his gift can help people and are there with him every step of the way.

It’s no secret who the villain is. Cadey Hagan believes he’s remade himself (he’s still deplorable), and no one will ever discover what he did all those years ago. The author did an amazing job crafting his gradual mental deterioration, and by the end the reader may wonder if Ol’ Shuck is actually mythical.

I can’t recommend this supernatural suspense series enough. I’m excited to read the next book so I can spend more time with these lovely characters (my fictional family).

Virtually Gone by Jacquie Biggar #bookreview #thriller #crimefiction

From USA Today Bestselling Author, Jacquie Biggar, comes a gripping techno-thriller, part of a multi-author series tied together by an interlocking cast of characters, all centered around the fantastic new promise of high technology and the endless possibilities for crime that technology offers, in a world where getting away with murder can be not only plausible, but easy…if you just know how.

Investigative reporter Julie Crenshaw stumbles upon the case of a lifetime–one that could cost her everything.

When Julie is called on to investigate a string of sexual abuse cases, she doesn’t expect to land in the crosshairs of a serial rapist. Soon she’s in a race to find the facts before a killer makes her the headline.

Detective Matthew Roy is frustrated with his inability to track a rapist terrorizing his city. Added to that, his partner’s reporter girlfriend is dogging his every step and won’t heed his warnings. Time is ticking with the perpetrator escalating his crime to murder. Matt needs to find the killer soon, or chance losing someone he cares for- the question is, how?

Virtually Gone is part of a multi-author series (this is number six of eight), but can easily be read as a standalone.

Although a quick read, the author provides just enough backstory to introduce the characters without bogging down the pace of the novel. I immediately cared about Julie, a widow who’s tentatively allowing herself to love again. There’s potential for conflict as she’s an ambitious journalist and her boyfriend is a detective – who’s also working the case she’s investigating. Detective Matthew Roy is frustrated a rapist is still running free, but not just from a professional standpoint. He also has a personal interest in the case.

The villain’s arrogance is maddening. He has a seriously skewed vision of himself as someone whose superior intelligence will prevent him from ever being caught. You just really want this guy to get what he deserves for all the despicable things he’s done. As a science geek, the DNA phenotyping used to help track him down fascinated me and was an element I especially enjoyed.

This is a tightly plotted, well-paced thriller that can easily be read in a couple hours and one I’d happily recommend to fans of the genre.

Payback (Vale Hale #3) by Kristen Simmons #bookreview #YA #thriller

The unpredictable truth will be revealed in Payback, the stunning conclusion to Kristen Simmons’ Edgar-nominated thriller series that started with The Deceivers…

Brynn Hilder has conned a lot of people. From the spoiled rich kids of Sikawa City to her mom’s loser ex-boyfriend, from a motorcycle gang to a senator’s son. If there was money to be gained, or a secret to uncover, she figured out how to get it done. And thanks to Vale Hall and its director, Dr. David Odin, she’s found a family of hustlers just like her.

Together, Brynn and her friends have overcome doubt, deceit, and betrayal to unearth the truth–a truth even a group of professional scammers couldn’t have predicted.

And now they must tackle the biggest con artist of them all: the man who brought them all together. 

With it’s clever, fully-fleshed characters and many unexpected twists, I’ve been a fan of this series from the first book. I’m sad to leave Vale Hall, but very pleased with how this adventure ends.

Even though it’s difficult to know who to trust at times since most of them are trained cons, I adore these characters. Brynn makes the statement that she’s finally found her family, and that’s exactly how it feels with these friends who offer unconditional support through some harrowing and life-threatening situations. I’ll miss all of them. I’m grateful to the author for the epilogue that allows the reader a glimpse into what the future holds for these characters.

Taking on Dr. O, the man who brought them all together, is their ultimate challenge, and the author strips away every last hope from them. I had no idea how they’d pull this off. And the secrets that are revealed! Some are pretty shocking and offer an exciting turn of events. When all is said and done, it’s an intricately layered plan that pulls elements in from several areas and plays out like a scene from Ocean’s Eleven. I loved every minute of it.

With a complex plot, a deep well of secrets, and fully developed, magnetic characters, this is a series I’d highly recommend to thriller/suspense fans. I’d be all in if the author decided to do a spinoff featuring some of these characters (Henry and Grayson especially!).

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

The Project by Courtney Summers #bookreview #YA #suspense #thriller

Lo Denham is used to being on her own. After her parents died, Lo’s sister, Bea, joined The Unity Project, leaving Lo in the care of their great aunt. Thanks to its extensive charitable work and community outreach, The Unity Project has won the hearts and minds of most in the Upstate New York region, but Lo knows there’s more to the group than meets the eye. She’s spent the last six years of her life trying—and failing—to prove it.

When a man shows up at the magazine Lo works for claiming The Unity Project killed his son, Lo sees the perfect opportunity to expose the group and reunite with Bea once and for all. When her investigation puts her in the direct path of its leader, Lev Warren and as Lo delves deeper into The Project, the lives of its members it upends everything she thought she knew about her sister, herself, cults, and the world around her—to the point she can no longer tell what’s real or true. Lo never thought she could afford to believe in Lev Warren . . . but now she doesn’t know if she can afford not to.

The last book I read about cults featured the Manson Family, so it’s been a while. The way Charles Manson convinced people to follow him was disturbing and horrific, but also eerily intriguing. The cult in this book isn’t that extreme (thankfully), but there are still some similarities.

I like the way this story is contructed. Alternating between Bea’s and Lo’s perspective along with chapters from the past and present, the pieces of the puzzle gradually form a complete picture by the end – and it may not be what you expect. The Project has a different effect on both sisters, and their bond is demonstrated early and plays an important part of the plot.

The Unity Project initially sounds like a legitimate organization that does charitable work and community outreach. No one has been able to prove otherwise so far, and most of their members are unaware of the truth. It’s easy to see how they’ve won over so many folks. Lev Warren, their leader, is charismatic, empathetic, and knows exactly what to say to get into a person’s head. He preys upon those who are lost, vulnerable, and searching for something to cling to, a purpose. It’s hard to disagree with a lot of what he says – and that’s kind of unnerving. It’s nearly terrifying how quickly he is able to influence others.

As Lo investigates The Project and pushes for a reunion with her sister, she finds herself unsure of what or who to believe. Although determined to discover the truth behind the organization, she wasn’t exactly on sure footing before meeting Lev Warren, and he seems to understand her like no one else she’s ever met. And he takes advantage of this.

After a bit of a slow start, this book grabbed me, and putting it down wasn’t an option. I had to see what happened next. Parts of it are very emotional and ripped my heart out, so be prepared. It’s a compelling, addictive read you’ll still be thinking about days after finishing.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

#BadMoonRising Cusp of Night (Hode’s Hill Series #1) by Mae Clair #suspense #supernatural #TuesdayBookBlog

Yesterday I mentioned inspiration can be triggered by a variety of things. One of my questions gave this author an idea for a book (yay me!). Having read the series featured today and many of her other books, I have no doubt whatever comes out of that idea will be just as compelling. If supernatural suspense is your drug of choice, I can’t recommend this series enough. Welcome Mae Clair!

Hi, Teri! I’m super excited to be participating in Bad Moon Rising again this year. Thank you for arranging this awesome event, one where I always discover new books and new authors.

I’m bringing along Cusp of Night, a spooky tale that includes a haunted house, a 19th century spiritualist, seances, a mysterious creature, and dual mysteries—one set in the present and one in the 19th century. The book has over 100 reviews on Amazon, so readers can do plenty of poking around to see what others are saying about my supernatural mystery.

As always, you came up with a great assortment of creepy questions and writing-related questions to answer.  I had fun with these!

Has a movie or book scared you so much you couldn’t sleep?  Which one?

When I was a teenager, there were two books that terrified me—The Shining by Stephen King, and The Amityville Horror. When people think of The Shining, most remember the creepy ghost twins or the woman in the bathtub, but the moving topiary bushes were what kept me up at night. I still get goose bumps when I think about them.

Every movie adaptation I’ve seen of The Shining has fallen short of eliciting the fear I felt while reading. Today, the book remains one of my all-time favorites by King.

And then there is <shudder> The Amityville Horror. Knowing it was supposed to be true, pushed the terror element into the stratosphere. I devoured half the book in one afternoon, but was so terrified, I threw it in the trash without finishing it. Bleeding walls, clusters of flies, and a pig with glowing red eyes staring through the window at night—no thanks! I would have nothing to do with the movie either.

Would you rather use a Ouija board or participate in a séance?

This is a tough question because Ouija boards are not something I want to mess with, but going to a séance would be just as bad. Between the two, I’d opt for the séance. At least there, I wouldn’t be the one summoning the spirit. Strangely, while writing my reply for this question, I was hit by a great idea for a book. Thanks, Teri!

If you were in a horror movie, would you rather have a loaded gun or a car that wouldn’t break down?

Definitely the car. Hopefully, it would come with a full tank of gas which would get me far away from the ghouls, zombies, ghosts, and assorted nasties. The gun would only have so many shots, and bullets don’t work on all creatures anyway. The short version—I would rather flee than fight a bunch of supernatural thugs.

Do you write to music?

Only instrumental. I’m one of those authors who can’t abide distractions when I write—no TV or music with lyrics. I have a flatscreen television in my office, but I only use it for listening to a spa-type music channel.

Which comes first for you – plot or characters?

Characters. They randomly pop into my head and demand I find a plot for them. As an example, Lucinda Glass, the spiritualist in Cusp of Night, hung around in one form or another for a few years before I found a story to suit. Then there is Madison Hewitt, who grew from a single line in End of Day. Suddenly, my lead character had a sister in a care facility for the emotionally disturbed. Who knew? Certainly, not the author!

Describe your writing space.

I’m fortunate to have a dedicated office in my house for writing. I have a desk with an iMac computer, two bookcases, and an electric fireplace for ambiance. The smaller of the two bookcases is for craft books and topics I’ve researched; the larger for fiction—including several signed hardbacks from my favorite authors. I had canvas prints made from a few of my book covers for hanging on the walls (Cusp of Night is one), and there are black cat silhouettes above the closet and entrance doors. My own black cat, Raven, usually hangs out with me when I’m working.

This was fun, Teri. Thanks so much for having me on your blog!

The truth hides in dark places . . .

Recently settled in Hode’s Hill, Pennsylvania, Maya Sinclair is enthralled by the town’s folklore, especially the legend about a centuries-old monster. A devil-like creature with uncanny abilities responsible for several horrific murders, the Fiend has evolved into the stuff of urban myth. But the past lives again when Maya witnesses an assault during the annual “Fiend Fest.” The victim is developer Leland Hode, patriarch of the town’s most powerful family, and he was attacked by someone dressed like the Fiend. 

 Compelled to discover who is behind the attack and why, Maya uncovers a shortlist of enemies of the Hode clan. The mystery deepens when she finds the journal of a late nineteenth-century spiritualist who once lived in Maya’s house–a woman whose ghost may still linger.

Known as the Blue Lady of Hode’s Hill due to a genetic condition, Lucinda Glass vanished without a trace and was believed to be one of the Fiend’s tragic victims. The disappearance of a young couple, combined with more sightings of the monster, trigger Maya to join forces with Leland’s son Collin. But the closer she gets to unearthing the truth, the closer she comes to a hidden world of twisted secrets, insanity, and evil that refuses to die . . .

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#NewRelease Eternal Road: The Final Stop by John W. Howell #IndieAuthor

New Book Launch – Eternal Road – The final stop.

Today I have the pleasure of welcoming author John Howell to tell us about his new release, Eternal Road!  John is a big supporter of other authors and also keeps us entertained with one of my favorite weekly posts – the adventures of Lucy and Twiggy, a couple of my favorite furry friends.  Over to you, John!

Thank you so much for having me on your blog, Teri, and thank you for helping me launch this book. I know you are getting ready for Bad Moon Rising and I appreciate being here with you today. Speaking of the book, let me describe it. Eternal Road is the story of two people finding their way through the selection process leading to the place where one will spend eternity. Yes, it is true. They both have passed away. James Wainwright just died in an auto accident. Samantha Tourneau died seventeen years before. Sam is James’s guide to help him decide where to spend eternity. This is not your usual thriller or paranormal romance. It is a piece of fiction that is a combination of inspiration, adventure, time travel, sci-fi, a touch of erotica, and a dash of spiritual. In short, it is a lot of things, but hopefully, a story that will make you happy to have read it.

It is now available on Amazon in paper and Kindle. The Kindle edition is introductory priced at 99¢ until October 15th

Here is the universal link

Kindle

Paper

The blurb

James Wainwright picks up a hitchhiker and discovers two things 1. The woman he picks up is his childhood sweetheart, only Seventeen years older. 2. He is no longer of this world.

James began a road trip alone in his 1956 Oldsmobile. He stops for a hitchhiker only to discover she is his childhood sweetheart, Sam, who disappeared seventeen years before. James learns from Sam falling asleep miles back caused him to perish in a one-car accident. He also comes to understand that Sam was taken and murdered all those years ago, and now she has come back to help him find his eternal home.

The pair visit a number of times and places and are witness to a number of historical events. The rules dictate that they do no harm to the time continuum. Trying to be careful, they inadvertently come to the attention of Lucifer, who would love to have their souls as his subjects. They also find a threat to human survival and desperately need to put in place the fix necessary to save humankind.

The question becomes, will James find his eternal home in grace or lose the battle with Satan for his immortal soul and the future of human life with it? If you like time-travel, adventure, mystery, justice, and the supernatural, this story is for you.

An Excerpt

Though Sam’s revelation has left James reeling, they continue down the road without saying anything. James looks over, and Samantha turns from staring out the window. She smiles and says, “You okay?”

“As long as I’m with you.” He gives her one of those smiles that beg for reassurance.

“Don’t you worry. No way would I leave you alone. Do you know how long I had to wait to come and get you?”

“No. How long?”

“I was seven when I died and then had to wait for another seventeen years.”

“Do the years pass at the same time … ?” James pauses to pick the right word. “Uh, over there?”

“You mean over here. This is the new reality right here and now.”

“But it looks like we’re still in my Olds driving down the road.”

“I know it seems that way. You see, there’s a waiting period for you to get used to your new status.”

“You’ve done this before?”

“I’ve never done this until now. I have to say, though, the instructions for handling such a thing have proven amazingly specific and useful so far.”

“So, does time pass the same?”

“That’s hard to answer. For instance, you prayed for … what? … Around ten years? Did it seem like ten years?”

“No.”

“Then you can feel what it’s like. Time is relative. I didn’t think about how long it took for you to die. It just happened, and I’m here to take care of you.”

“When you died, did it hurt?”

“No, I didn’t feel anything. Like you, I wasn’t aware of what happened. It just happened.”

“Who came to take care of you?”

“Such a blessing. My grandma. She died when I was still a little baby. The first thing I remember is being in her arms. It was wonderful.”

“Do you see her? I mean, over here?”

“I do. It’s funny, though. Gran’s real busy, and we don’t get to see each other as often as I would want. She’s one of the baby handlers.”

“Baby handlers?”

“Hey, look up ahead. There’s a general store. Let’s stop. I have a hankering for a cold drink.”

The trailer

John’s bio

John is an award-winning author who, after an extensive business career, began writing full time in 2012. His specialty is thriller fiction novels, but John also writes poetry and short stories. He has written five other books that are on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions. The paperback versions are also available in the Indie Lector store

John lives in Lakeway, Texas, with his wife and their spoiled rescue pets.

Contact John

Blog Fiction Favorites, http://johnwhowell.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/john.howell.98229241
Twitter –https://www.twitter.com/HowellWave
Goodreads –https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7751796.John_W_Howell
Amazon Author’s page –https://www.amazon.com/author/johnwhowell

John’s other books

My GRL,
His Revenge
Our Justice
Circumstances of Childhood
The Contract: between heaven and earth

 

A Boy Named Rabbit (Wake-Robin Ridge #2) by Marcia Meara #bookreview #suspense #supernatural

“Evil’s comin’, boy…comin’ fast. Look for the man with eyes like winter skies, and hair like a crow’s wing. He’s the one you gotta find.”

The remote mountain wilderness of North Carolina swallowed up the ten-year-old boy as he made his way down from the primitive camp where his grandparents had kept him hidden all his life. His dying grandmother, gifted with The Sight, set him on a quest to find the Good People, and though he is filled with fear and wary of civilization, Rabbit is determined to keep his promise to her. When he crosses paths with Sarah and MacKenzie Cole, neither their lives nor his, are ever the same again.

The extraordinary little boy called Rabbit has the power to change the world for everyone he meets, and the resourcefulness to save himself from the one person his grandparents had hoped would never find him. His dangerous and bittersweet journey will touch you in unexpected ways, and once you’ve let Rabbit into your heart, you’ll never forget him.

Is it possible to join a fictional family?  I’d love to join this one and live in the mountains of NC.

Several other readers’ reviews have mentioned how Rabbit stole their heart – I’m no exception.  He’s such a wonderful character – wise beyond his years despite his limited education, empathetic, loving, appreciative, and an excellent judge of character.  He’s an old soul in the body of a 10-year-old boy, and I just wanted to hug him and protect him from the world.

I was so excited to be back with Mac and Sarah, who I got to know in the first book, as well as Rosheen and Handsome.  They’re two of my favorite furry characters, and I adored how quickly Rosheen took to Rabbit and felt so protective of him.

Parts of Rabbit’s story are tragic, but overall, this is a heart-warming, feel-good read with some pretty suspenseful moments and magnificent character development.  I can’t wait to continue the series.

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.