Thoughts on Pages #09: Jackaby

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween, y'all! :)

I can't imagine a better book to review for today. And...I think this is my favorite book of the year.

For starters, it's marketed as being "Doctor Who meets Sherlock".

thanks for the gif, tumblr!


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 a debut novel, the first in a series, brimming with cheeky humor and a dose of the macabre.

(Synopsis from Amazon)


Abigail Rook is a fantastic lead heroine. She has a good head on her shoulders and an ever-reaching sense of adventure that's hard for her to first. Her story is an intriguing one, and the novel begins in the midst of it, as she makes port across the ocean, far from her Hampshire home. But what she finds in New Fiddleham is nothing short of enigmatic, and enigma takes human form in R. F. Jackaby.

Jackaby himself can be considered a mix of Doctor Who and Sherlock, but he's his own character for sure. I could find elements of both characters in him, but I think that's because I was so intent on looking for those similar aspects in his character. Long story short, I found both similarities and differences, but all the same, he was such a fun character on the page. He's not overtly abrasive, but he's not too gentle, either. He is always in the middle of the action - supernatural or not - and he likes it that way.

The supporting cast is brilliant. I love the tenants in Jackaby's home, and the policemen were delightful and sometimes delightfully frustrating.

The villain is fantastically written as well. I can't say who it is though...spoilers. ;) But the twist where we finally find out who the killer is? FANTASTIC.


New Fiddleham is a fictitious place. (I even googled it just to make sure.) But it feels as though it should be.

William Ritter did an excellent job capturing small-town life. It's a New England-style small town in the late 1800s, but the typical folks are still there, including your standard town gossips and skeptics. But the inclusion of fantasy elements in the story is seamless.

Speaking of fantasy elements, there's a strong focus on fairy folklore. We get to meet banshees, different varieties of folks who can see the unseen, and a few other baddies that I can't reveal because, well, spoilers. Their descriptions - and Jackaby's explanations - are fabulously well-written, and I was never wondering what something looked like for a long period of time.

My Thoughts

This entire book felt like a really good Sherlock or Doctor Who episode.

I had so much fun trying to figure out the solution to this whodunit mystery, and though I was able to figure out one twist, I honestly didn't see the second one coming. The ending itself also wound up being really sweet. :)

Also, there's bonus material in the back that explains one of Jackaby's favorite tools: a tuning fork. And it put the biggest smile on my face.

I give Jackaby five leather detective's notebooks out of five. This book was absolutely, positively phenomenal. If you like Doctor Who or Sherlock, or if you just love good mysteries that just so happen to have fantasy twists, I highly recommend that you give this one a read, too. :)

Have any recommendations for me? I'd love to read them in the comments! :) Also, check out my Goodreads to see what I'm into and what I'm reading now.

Also, I hope y'all have a safe and happy Halloween! Want to read the posts from my Halloweekend series? Click here to get caught up.

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