Book Review

Review – Jackaby by William Ritter

Jackaby has been on my radar for a while. But honestly the push for me to finally check this out from my library’s Overdrive is that Ritter will be at an event I’m attending at the end of the month. I haven’t read books by most authors appearing there, and his was available, so…yeah. Choice made.


20312462“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. (Goodreads)


Oh I’m so glad that I finally picked this up! It was so good! I loved that immediately I was taken into a cadence reminiscent of Edgar Allan Poe’s works (I admit to not having read/watched Sherlock, but Jackaby most certainly reminded me of Auguste Dupin). Most likely, had I not taken a semester-long senior-level college class devoted to American crime fiction, I wouldn’t have found so many little treasures: names like Allan, Dupin, and Marlowe (I’m just going to guess that wasn’t coincidental-but I’m not sure if it was actually a nod to The Big Sleep by Chandler or not), Jackaby’s way of speaking, logic, and his constant clashing with the police force. Oh it was so fun to read! Y’all probably know by now that I often base my review on how much I actually enjoyed reading a book, so…

I give Jackaby 5 stars!

Once I put a book on my wish list or buy it, I rarely go back and read the synopsis again. So, for the first few paragraphs, I didn’t know my narrator was Abigail, and it was a fun surprise to realize I was reading the story from a young lady’s point of view.

Jackaby was an easy read that finished quickly and (thankfully) didn’t dabble in too much information for too long. Quick-paced, I guess you could say.

I really enjoyed the story that was dropped in in opposition to Saint George. What a great gateway of interest to another culture.

I do kinda wish a little more time was spent on the different creatures, but I understand why that wouldn’t have organically fit in.

I look forward to reading Beastly Bones and Ghostly Echoes very soon.

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7 thoughts on “Review – Jackaby by William Ritter

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