20312462Author: William Ritter

Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers

Series: N/A

Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Fantasy

Release Date: September 16, 2014

Format: eArc from Net Galley

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. {goodreads.com}

Purchase: {Barnes&Noble} {Amazon}

My Review:

*Note: I received this as eArc from Net Galley

“Marlowe is a good man and a competent detective, but he notices what anyone would notice: the extraordinary. He spots bloodstains and mad men in red

pajamas. I see the things more extraordinary still, the things no one else sees. But you– you notice mailboxes and wastebaskets and …and people. One who can

see the ordinary is extraordinary indeed, Abigail Rook.”

With this quote I knew I was hooked. I absolutely love a story where the characters recognize each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and instead of exploiting the strengths/weaknesses they praise them. This is especially extraordinary because Jackaby is saying this about Abigail, a woman. A woman who is living in the 19th century, where women are rarely praised for their intellect, and never for their detecting ability.

In that regard this story reminds me of the Mary Russell series by Laurie R. King. Abigail is just as strong as Mary, and like Mary she is also an amateur sleuth who is being tutored by an awfully unique man. Jackaby, is very unique indeed. Jackaby is very much a genius scatter-brain who expects everyone else to understand how he thinks. The perfect example is that he catalogs his library by the items aura color, not title or subject, but aura color! How could he possibly expect a layman to understand or even comprehend/see this? However, Abigail takes this in stride and goes with it, and makes a very successful partnership with Jackaby.

The story is very compelling and full of mystery.

“Monsters are easy, Miss Rook. They’re monsters. But a monster in a suit? That’s basically just a wicked man, and a wicked man is a more dangerous thing by far.”

I figured out who the culprit was almost right away, but that is only because as the reader I could see more of the big picture, which I think is what William Ritter wants you to do. However, I was completely thrown by several of the other outcomes within the mystery. I also loved that each chapter was prefaced as if it was an entry in a report, or a journal. I thought that it was a great touch that Ritter chose to eliminate chapter 13 stating that:

“By the request of my employer, the contents of chapter thirteen have been omitted. -Abigail Rook”

This was such a great touch! I can only assume 13 was left out because it is an auspicious number, which would play right in to Jackaby’s personality.
Overall, this was a magnificent story that would not only be loved by Young Adult genre lovers, but by those that love a good historical mystery.



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