Jackaby by William Ritter
Release Date: September 16th 2014
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: ebook from Publisher via Netgalley
Summary (goodreads.com): 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.
The character of Jackaby is what originally drew me in to this quick, fun, whimsical book. He has the personality that encompasses some of my favorite fictional people. He has an attitude that combines any regeneration of the Doctor in that he will investigate anything out of the ordinary and commands attention, but instead of aliens he investigates fairy creatures, such as banshees, shapeshifters, ghosts, and brownies, like Arthur Spiderwick and he does it all with the deductive abilities of Sherlock Holmes. At one point Jackaby’s ghostly companion, Jenny remarks to his new assistant, Abigail that “for a man who professes to be entirely rational and scientific, he can’t seem to steer clear of the impossible and magical" (125). He commands not only the curiosity of those around him in the story but of the reader as well. Because of Jackaby’s huge presence it is almost easy to overlook the narrator, Abigail. To do so would be a discourtesy because Abigail commands a respect from me personally in that she knows that more than anything that she wants adventure and travels halfway across the world by herself to get it. She’s a great protagonist because she is funny, intelligent, practical, adventurous, inquisitive, and persistent. I loved Abigail’s first adventure with Jackaby. It’s a good, light mystery full of supernatural oddities and great side characters. The setting of New Fiddleham, especially Jackaby’s very strange house quickly wormed it’s way into my heart as did all the unique, crazy characters. I truly hope there will be more books for Abigail and Jackaby. I sense a new favorite in this that I will wish to read over and over again for years to come.