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“Sherlock Holmes crossed with Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” —Chicago Tribune

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 the foul deeds are the work of the kind of creature whose very existence the local authorities–with the exception of a handsome young detective named Charlie Cane–seem adamant to deny.

“The rich world of this debut demands sequels.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“We honestly couldn’t put it down.” —Nerdist.com

“Toss together an alternate 19th-century New England city, a strong tradition of Sherlockian pastiche, and one seriously ugly hat, and this lighthearted and assured debut emerges, all action and quirk.” —Publishers Weekly

• A Top Ten Fall ’14 Kids’ Indie Next Pick
• A 2014 Kirkus Reviews Best Book for Young Adults
• A 2015 YALSA Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults Title
• A 2015 Pacific Northwest Book Award Winner
• A 2015–2016 Georgia Peach Award Nominee
• A Junior Library Guild Selection

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3 Responses to " Jackaby "

  1. Anonymous says:
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Jackaby, 30 Jun. 2016
    S. Hatfield

    Verified Purchase(What is this?)
    Received from NetGalley for review.

    ’I have ceased concerning myself with how things look to others, Abigail Rook. I suggest you do the same. In my experience, others are generally wrong.’

    Jackaby is nothing short of incredible, a delicious masterpiece that I devoured at every opportunity. It is set in 1892 in New England and follows Abigail Rook, a tearaway young woman who took her tuition money and ran off to hunt dinosaurs and have an adventure. By complete chance she meets R. F. Jackaby, a very eccentric Sherlock-esque detective and seer, for whom she becomes an investigative assistant. She ends up assisting Jackaby with a very strange murder and soon realises that nothing is as it seems, what we believe to be true and real is not, not even Charlie, the junior detective they meet at the crime scene.

    I wanted to get my hands on this book the minute I stumbled across it and I was thrilled when NetGalley gave me the opportunity to read it. William Ritter has created a fantastic debut, full of fantasy, adventure and mystery, and I knew from the first line that I would love this book. The opening is brilliant – I was immediately intrigued and at no point did I become disinterested or disappointed. The story and characters are excellently crafted; fantasy and folklore are seamlessly weaved into the book and it is truly magical to read about, the plot is fast paced and keeps you guessing and wanting more, and there is the most amazing plot twist that I didn’t see coming a mile off.

    Abigail, Jackaby and Charlie are some of the best characters I have ever read. Abigail runs away from her parents, who want her to become a prim and proper housewife and mother, to seek adventure wherever she can, and circumstance brings her across the sea to New England. She is a superbly written character, strong, smart and brave, and I loved her. She is exactly the kind of young woman I want to read about, one who has her feet firmly on the ground while still letting her head and heart wander into the clouds. There is the barest hint of romance – a mutual attraction really – but it is a lovely little aside in the story, hardly noticeable, and Abigail is entirely her own person, not some by-product of a crush going straight to insta-love. Thank you, William Ritter! Jackaby is wonderfully bizarre, everything I want in a scatter brained but incredibly intelligent detective. There is a definite Sherlock Holmes vibe but it works really well and I love how his investigations are of the supernatural, it’s more like reading a fairy tale than a detective story. Charlie managed to become my favourite character, even though he isn’t in the story as much as Abigail and Jackaby. He is, quite simply, adorable – a wonderful, kind hearted and loyal young man, with one hell of a secret.

    Jackaby is one of the best books I have read this year. The writing is absolutely beautiful, the characters are fantastic and the story is magical. I hope that there will be many more novels in the future from Ritter, who is nothing short of a story telling genius if Jackaby is anything to go by.


  2. Anonymous says:
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    it is usually not my favourite type of prose to read in detective stories (there …, 15 Sept. 2016
    Courtney MM

    Verified Purchase(What is this?)
    From start to finish, I was drawn in and completely enchanted by this book. With such flowing, captivating writing, Jackaby was hugely enjoyable to read and I raced through the book so fast that I kind of wish I had paced myself more to hold onto the experience for a little longer.

    Though I have nothing against first person narration, it is usually not my favourite type of prose to read in detective stories (there is something about how encompassing third person can be that I’m just drawn to, and second person narration, when done right, can take a story to new heights with its unfamiliarity). However, it truly worked wonderfully in this book: Abigail was both a great narrator of the story and the perfect character to be in this position. The writing style was suitably fitting for the genre and though it did feel like it slowed down in some places, that too felt like good pacing. As well as the prose in general, there were many pieces of dialogue that I loved too.

    As for the cast… I felt so much love for the main and supporting characters: Abigail and Jenny from their first introductions, and Jackaby more and more as the story progressed. As well as being a great viewpoint character to introduce the supernatural elements to the reader though, Abigail’s personality and disposition made her such an enjoyable character and made for a promising dynamic with the mysterious and distant (but kind-hearted) Jackaby.

    Though I felt most invested in the wonderful prose and dynamic characters, the mystery had so many layers to it and was very satisfying too. I can’t wait to see what future cases in the series are to be solved by Jackaby, Abigail and the rest of such an enchanting cast.

  3. Anonymous says:
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    The outcome of putting Sherlock, Doctor Who, Grim and possibly Penny Dreadful in a mixing pot, 7 Aug. 2015

    Verified Purchase(What is this?)
    This review is from: Jackaby (Hardcover)
    A fantasy novel set in Victorian times about a girl called Abigale who becomes the assistant of a detective who investigates crime of the supernatural kind.
    This book is basically the outcome of putting Sherlock, Doctor Who, Grim and possibly Penny Dreadful in a mixing pot. What emerges afterwards is an obscure and fairly original Victorian tale of a detective, who can see magical and mythical creatures and his assistant, who is very observant of the ordinary. The narrator of the story is a strong female character (Abigale Rook) who we know from the start seeks out adventure and doesn’t really play by the books; i.e. dressing like a boy to get a job at an archaeological dig.
    Ritter has a fantastic writing style that is detailed, witty and gripping.

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