by William Ritter
The past year I’ve invested a lot of time seeking out new authors using social media. Thanks to fellow bloggers and peeps on Twitter, I’ve managed to win many books and discover new talent I would never have come across. There are pluses and minuses to this method of building a TBR list, but as long as you are open to adventures you might otherwise have missed, I’m finding this an excellent way to read some amazing works.
Jackaby by William Ritter was a novel I won, and to be honest, I entered the contest because of the gorgeous cover. I rarely read the book descriptions and roll the dice whether the material will be my cup of tea. I’d classify Ritter’s first novel as a detective fantasy work. It is also considered a YA novel, but it easily crosses over to readers of all ages. Set in 1892 New England, this tale features Jackaby, a Sherlockian detective with a flare for the paranormal and his new intrepid girl Friday, Abigail Rook, who is on the lam from her boring life seeking adventure. I love these two characters together.
The writing is witty and the characters are both charming and strong. A heroine who doesn’t faint in the face of danger, especially in a 19th century setting, is very much appreciated. Despite fantasy and paranormal not being my regular choice of genres, Ritter created a story which was highly entertaining, and which I looked forward to returning to every day.
The small town of New Fiddleham is the stalking ground of a serial killer and between Jackaby’s knowledge of mythical underworld beings, and Abigail’s ability to notice everyday nuances, the team leads the reader on a very enjoyable adventure.
Although I’m not a huge fan of the Sherlock Holmes movies and television offerings of my youth (70s and 80s), I do like Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock and couldn’t help but see his face as I read Jackaby’s nonplussed reactions to a world most of us cannot see.
Ritter is an author to watch and the first chapter of book two of the Jackaby series, Beastly Bones, is included at the end of this novel. Glad to know he is continuing the characters, but, of course, I didn’t read this teaser. I prefer to open a book having no idea where I am to be led.