November 8, 2014

Book Review: Jackaby by William Ritter @Willothewords @AlgonquinYR

Title: Jackaby (Jackaby #1)
Author: William Ritter
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Genre: Teen, Mystery, Paranormal
Release Date: September 16, 2014
Source: Books-A-Million
Purchase: Amazon | TBD | B&N

Summary from Goodreads:
“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 went into this now knowing what to expect. Sure, I read the synopsis and concluded that it was a historical mystery book, but that is pretty much all I got from it. I actually had not heard of this book before spotting the lovely cover on the shelf of my local Books-A-Million book store.

When reading this all I could picture was a crazy Johnny Depp from the movie From Hell where he was a crazy detective type person solving Jack the Ripper murders. Throw a bit of paranormal, faeries, werewolves, trolls and the like into the mix, and you got R.F. Jackaby. Along with newly arrived, Abigail Rook, you have yourself a detective team. 

The story went well. I mean, I read the first 10 chapters in a flash and couldn't wait to read more, but once you got past that, it seemed as if the story started to fall flat and drag on. After about 6 or 7 more chapters of that, it started to pick up again and then towards the end it started to come together quite nicely.

All in all, I would say this is a great first book to what seems like a truly one of kind series. I hope the next book stands up to this one.

At the University of Oregon, William made questionable choices, including willfully selecting classes for the interesting stories they promised, rather than for any practical application. When he wasn't frivolously playing with words, he earned credits in such meaningful courses as Trampoline, Juggling, and 17th Century Italian Longsword. These dubious decisions notwithstanding, he regrets nothing and now holds degrees in English and Education with certificates in Creative Writing and Folklore.

He currently teaches high school Language Arts, including reading and writing, mythology and heroes. He is a proud husband and father. When reading aloud, he always does the voices.

Jackaby is his first novel. It was born in the middle of the night and written on two different hemispheres. It has survived typhoons and hurricanes, and was fostered into publication through the patient care of many hands.

Find William: Website | Twitter


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