Jackaby by William Ritter

September 4, 2014 Reviews 6

Jackaby by William Ritter
by William Ritter
Published by Algonquin
on September 16th 2014
Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery, YA, Young Adult


"Jackaby sighed and drew to a stop as we reached the corner of another cobbled street. He turned and looked at me with pursed lips. Let s see, he said at last. I observed you were recently from the Ukraine. A young domovyk has nestled in the brim of your hat. More recently, you seem to have picked up a Klabautermann, a kind of German kobold attracted to minerals. Most fairy creatures can t touch the stuff. That s probably why your poor domovyk nestled in so deep."

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 must admit that the pretty cover drew me to this book, just look at that cover! Gorgeous, right? And when I read the synopsis, I KNEW I had to read this one. I mean, Doctor Who meets Sherlock?! I’d be crazy to pass that up!

To get rid of the suspense, I am super pleased to say that the pitch was not just there to reel us in, I actually saw the parallels between Doctor Who and Sherlock. First, we have Jackaby himself who is reminds me of the 10th doctor in most ways. However, he is reminiscent of Sherlock in his detective skills and quick wit. Also, while the novel is focused on mystery, fantasy elements came heavily into play (Doctor Who). It was just AWESOME to see all of the parallels. But if you don’t watch Doctor Who and/or Sherlock, why is this book for you? I’m glad you asked!

First, you should know that the main character, Abigail, is just great. While you may think that Jackaby is the main protagonist in this book but contrary to the book title, our hero is none other than Abigail Rook, an adventure seeking American young woman who just landed on the shores of England. Basically, she is one of the most refreshing female protagonists I’ve read about in a while. She’s not shy to say her opinion and she will definitely work hard to make sure that everyone knows her name.

The writing in Jackaby was also just brilliant. I loved the writing style and how things like murder mysteries can seem poetic in a way. While the writing and main character were phenomenal, the pacing was a little slow for me and I quickly guessed who the culprit was.

Overall, I recommend Jackaby for people looking for a mystery novel with great writing and an awesome main character. I will definitely keep an eye out for more books by William Ritter in the future and I hope that Jackaby will not be his only novel!

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6 Responses to “Jackaby by William Ritter”

  1. Francine Soleil

    The pretty cover draws me in too. 😛 I’m not really much into Doctor Who, and I have little knowledge on Sherlock Holmes, but I feel like this could be interesting. I don’t really read a lot of mysteries so I wonder if I would guess the culprit as easy as you did. I would probably be surprised to see Abigail as the main character had I not read your review. But I’m glad to know that she’s a great female protagonist. It’s hard to find those most of the time.
    Francine Soleil recently posted…[Blog Tour + Giveaway] Review: Forever Kinda Love by Clara StoneMy Profile

  2. Pili

    The cover and the Sherlock + Doctor Who really drew me to this book, and now you say that Jackaby himself is like a mix of the Tenth Doctor & Sherlock?? This book can’t be in my hands soon enough!
    Thanks for the reassurance & great review Shelly!
    Pili recently posted…Waiting On Wednesday #58!!My Profile

  3. Ari

    I am in a mood for some mystery and this sounds like a great pick. Also, I am falling again for a cover as this one is lovely too. Sherlock + Doctor Who? Well talking about high exectations – and i am glad that you’ve met yours 😀
    Ari recently posted…10 Little Pieces of MeMy Profile

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