Friday, October 03, 2014

Book Review: Jackaby

JACKABY by William Ritter is an marvelous way to introduce a new generation to a classic form of literature, the detective novel. At the same time, this compelling first novel joins an increasing number of quality works of historical fantasy. This combination of detective novel with historical fantasy is original and exciting for readers.

Set in 1892, Abigail Rook is fresh off a ship from Europe when she arrives in New England seeking adventure and more importantly a job. She gets both as she begins her first day as R. F. Jackaby’s assistant. Jackaby isn’t your ordinary investigator. He’s an eccentric who specializes in unexplained phenomenon and supernatural beings.

Ritter’s humorous, lyrical prose is captivating to read. Teens will immediately be attracted to narrator Abigail Rook’s situation and perspective. Each character in the story is well-developed and plays an interesting role in the progress of this engaging mystery. The plot is revealed in a tone reminiscent of classic detective stories from Arthur Conan Doyle to Agatha Christie. However the quirky characters and elements of supernatural will remind readers of more contemporary mysteries.

JACKABY will appeal to a broad range of readers including those who enjoy historical fiction, supernatural creatures, paranormal mystery, and a hint of romance.

THE MONSTRUMOLOGIST series by Rick Yancey would be a great read-alike for those who enjoy the horror and paranormal aspects of JACKABY.

Those that enjoy the historical fantasy aspects may be interested in THE DIVINERS by Libba Bray.

Use JACKABY as a vehicle to introduce a new generation to the classic detective adventure. Feature JACKABY along with other mysteries in a display including the “tools of the trade” from leather notebooks to magnifying glasses and a lab coat. Expand the paranormal mystery aspects with books featuring folklore and supernatural creatures.

JACKABY is Will Ritter’s first novel. If you enjoy language and YA literature, follow his blog at

Readers will be demanding a sequel to this unique series.

Publisher ARC used for review