CW’s: Death/Murder, Violence
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.
HELLO, I LOVE THIS!!! It’s strange to think about how I didn’t even intend to pick up this book because I didn’t think that it was my thing. I’m honestly so glad I check out the book from the library and gave it the chance for my #outofcomfortzonechallenge because I accidentally fell in love with it (hello new hyperfixation) 💗 I had so much fun reading Jackaby and before I knew it, I was obsessed with the book and the characters and making plans to buy all the books as a treat for finishing my Bachelor Thesis, as I need more 😄 Today, I’ll be gushing about why I love this book and why I’d highly recommend it to literally anybody 🥰
Enter: Jackaby – Seer, Detective and 100% not normal ➽ If I had to describe him I’d say that Jackaby is a mix of Sherlock Holmes and Dirk Gently (if you haven’t seen Dirk Gently’s Detective Agency please go watch it), as he’s incredibly smart but also constantly led by his ability to see beyond the veil and uncover curses, enchantments, auras and see who people truly are. He’s a bit of a strange, eccentric fellow who can often come across as tactless and a bit too direct, with a bit of arrogance as well. There is only one Seer at a time, so Jackaby has a very special ability and responsibility that often has him come across superior, a bit condescending, but never mean. Jackaby has a good heart and he is genuinely interested in helping those who have no one to turn to because the police obviously cannot uncover magical creatures. (He might not always show it but I’m 100% convinced that he’s a softie for his friends) Also, the detective is a bit chaotic and often lost in his own head, and the constant insights he gets into the Otherworld, which makes him miss some of the more obvious details. That’s super funny, as he’s often making things more complicated than they need to be 😂 He is also a bit withdrawn when it comes to his past (we don’t know his age or anything about his family or background story), so I’m 100% intrigued and want to uncover more about him, as we’ve only graced the tip of the iceberg. There’s so much more hidden beneath his facade. Basically, characters who are strange, mysterious and yet kind are my ultimate weakness.
Enter: Abigail – Newly-Found Assistant with a spirit for adventure ➽ The story is told in Abigail’s perspective and I actually think that tis was a great idea because it shrouds Jackaby in even more mystery because we’re not in his head and can only guess at how he sees the world. Instead, we follow along Abigaull who just arrived in the city and is as human as you and me. In her search for a job, she is becoming Jackaby’s assistant and is finally able to live out her sense of adventure. I was a bit hesitant because I feared that Abigail wouldn’t hold up against such an eccentric character as Jackaby, but I love her so much! She’s got this spirit for adventure and hunger to live something extraordinary, as her father never allowed her to go with him on his travels and expected her to be the perfect lady (this is set in the past). Abigail is from a more wealthy family, as she was able to study, but she took off with her study money to travel around Europe and fulfill her passion (#iconic). Now in New Fiddleham, she’s been a bit disillusioned, as her travels weren’t the adventure she’d hoped for, but then she meets Jackaby and her whole world opens up to more adventure. I love her attention to detail, she might not be able to see what Jackaby does but she is smart and capable.
Abigail and Jackaby are the perfect duo ➽ Jackaby is the one who has all the knowledge of the paranormal and can see beyond the veil, but Abigail is great at noticing the details that are often overlooked. At the first glance, Jackaby might look like the one who has all the answers, but Abigail is clever in her own right and together their different ways of seeing the world make for a great way to solve the mystery! I also love the friendly banter that both characters have going on and I appreciate that we’re seeing a friendship between a man and a woman that is purely platonic (I think it’s intended that way, but I obviously haven’t read all books)! They such an amazing team and I cannot wait to see them growing closer together and solving more mysteries with the rest of the characters!
The secondary characters are amazing 🦆 ➽ I love books that take time to carefully craft the supporting cast as well as the main characters. Jackaby definitely delivered on that front, as we have the most chaotic ensemble of Team Jackaby! Where do I even begin? Maybe with the fact that one of the characters is a duck 🦆 Not a normal duck either, as Douglas used to be a human but one irreversible curse later he’s now the waterfowl resident of Jackaby’s third floor which is a huge, nice pond. The second inhabitant of Jackaby’s house is the ghost Jenny, whose home this used to be before she died. After striking a bargain with the detective she’s now also part of the team and a fun, slightly mischievous character who makes sure that no intruders snoop around the house 👻 The extended Team Jackaby consists of Hatun, a woman who can see a tiny bit into the paranormal world, but not even close to what Jackaby can do as a seer. Even though some people think her strange, Hatun is dedicated to helping those in need. The newest member – maybe slightly involuntary – is Charlie, a young police officer, who has a good heart and is actually ready to believe Jackaby than the rest of the police who see him as a madman. He’s incredibly loyal, dedicated to his cause and ready to go against the rules to do the right thing!
Almost no romance and lots of friendships instead ➽ There is a tiny instant crush that Abigail develops when she first sees the attractive young police officer Charlie, but honestly, I can’t blame her as he’s a good man and also pretty cute 😄 Still, there’s not much focus on this romantic subplot and I feel like it will be more of a slow-burn over the rest of the series, which is nice! They are both cute together, so I’m fully on board and rooting for them to slowly get to know each other! Abigail also strikes up a friendship with the ghost Jenny and I loved their interactions. I’m all here for girls supporting each other, even if one of them is not technically alive. Plus, Hatun could totally be a kindly older relative of Jackaby and Abigail. I just love all the potential for a big found family here!
Last but not least: a great character-driven mystery ➽ The Mystery was a bit less fast-paced than I expected, but because the characters were so amazing and driving the story, I was totally okay with that. We get a good introduction into Jackaby’s world and a glimpse into the paranormal world that most people don’t realize exists. I love the idea of not only having a murder mystery but a supernatural murder mystery. My fantasy-loving heart was bursting with happiness 💗 It was so interesting to see Jaxkaby’s interaction with the police. As the one true Seer, he sets out to assist in unusual cases that the normal police can’t fully comprehend but is usually not believed as humanity isn’t keen on admitting that something magical exists. I didn’t really guess the murderer, but it was very well set up and I liked how everything came together in the end, it made for an intense, messy but also satisfying finale. And of course, I’m SO happy that we’re getting three more books!!! (my heart wants even more adventures of Jackaby and Abigal though).
Have you read Jackaby? What is your favorite book with a good mystery? 💗