Book Review: JACKABY by William Ritter

R. F. Jackaby and Miss Abigail Rook hunt supernatural serial killers!

JACKABY follows the adventures of Abigail Rook (like the bird and chess piece) who arrives in New Fiddleham, New England in 1892. After running away from home she finds herself with no money and an ocean away from England. However, luck is on Abigail’s side as, while looking for a job, she meets Mr. R. F. Jackaby and is immediately thrust into a world of supernatural serial killers. This book is a breath of fresh air in a genre which has been saturated with vampires, werewolves, and dystopian futures. Although there are certainly supernatural elements in the book, they are different and are not the same myths and legends you may be familiar with.

Abigail is not the first, nor is she the last, “plucky” girl to cross the pages of YA fiction, however, this does not mean that she is not interesting. As the Watson to Jackaby’s Holmes, she serves her role admirably. YA fiction is not often noted for its historical accuracy and so Abigail is perhaps not an accurate example of a woman of the late 19th century. But I believe Mr. Ritter was able to accurately capture what women in the western world probably considered an annoyance, that being the lack of pockets in women’s clothing. Some things appear to never change.

R. F. Jackaby gives the book its title and its story. A mixture of mad scientist and Sherlock Holmes he stands apart from his community. Forgetful and at times blind to social niceties, Jackaby drags Abigail through the adventure leaving her, and me, slightly dazed with his frantic energy.


I cannot go into the secondary characters too much because I want to leave some surprises, however be rest assured that you will not be disappointed. Charlie Cane is a police detective who assists with the investigation. This book did not give him enough room to grow and as such is a flat character in comparison to Abigail and Jackaby.

The only negative point I can give this book is the contrived love interest sub-plot/sub-note between Abigail and Charlie Cane. Only a small section of the book mentions Abigail’s growing feelings for Charlie, however as a reader, they seemed forced. I hope that in the next books in the series Mr. Ritter expands on Charlies character.

imgresWhat I hate most in any book is when I read the blurb on the back cover of the book that makes it seem amazing. Yet when I start reading the book the style of writing ruins the story for me. Happily though, Jackaby does not fall into that category. The language used throughout the book doesn’t talk down to readers or seem too childish. This book contains one of my new favorite words, ‘oscillates.’

Overall, Jackaby is an enjoyable adventure which I am sure many of our readers will be thrilled to read.

Jackaby is the first book in a series and was released September 16, 2014, and can be purchased on Amazon.

Ghostly Echoes, the third book in the series by William Ritter goes on sale 8/23.

By Nat, the Geek Girl

Southern California native who likes movies, books (Shadowhunter Chronicles, NA, YA fantasy, Red Rising series), TV shows (The Sandman), and San Diego Comic-Con. I also like to write, but don't get to do much of that aside from on here. I fell into the BTS rabbit hole, and I refuse to leave.