Sunday, April 26, 2015

Jackaby by William Ritter and read by Nicola Barber

Summary (from Goodreads):
Newly arrived in New Fiddleham, New England, 1890, 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 the foul deeds are the work of the kind of creature whose very existence the local police seem adamant to deny.

While Abigail finds herself drawn to Jackaby's keen intelligence and his sensitivity to phenomena others barely perceive, her feelings are confused by the presence of Charlie, a handsome young policeman willing to help Jackaby and Abigail on the case. But is Charlie's offer a sincere desire to be of service, or is some darker motive at work.
First, I need to say that image I used above is for the novel, not the audio book. The only audio book cover I could find online was super tiny. I did listen to this one. I had a nice long car ride to CT, to visit my friend Emma (who just started her own blog: The Testy Badger), to see her fantastic ballroom dance show! And I needed some good books to listen to. And wow, this was a good book to listen to.
This book was so good that it got me out of my reading funk. There was one day where I was planning on getting to work early, and I was just barely on time because I stayed in my car, in the parking lot, finishing a chapter of this audio.
The book was marketed as Sherlock meets Dr. Who, but I actually kind of think it was more Sherlock meets the show Supernatural. And well, are any of these comparisons bad? No. The narrator was also amazing. I’m not used to ladies voicing audio books, and I’m not sure why most of my YA listenings have been male, up to this point. I loved Barber’s voices for all the characters. She had a nice, soothing British accent that made me wish all audio books had British accents.
The story was so much fun too. Between the ghost, the banshee, the murders, and the mystery were some fantastic characters. Jackaby was very Sherlock. Though, if Sherlock also had a “the sight” to see supernatural creatures no one else sees. I loved the very British humor. I loved the main character, who brought the minor threads of normalcy to the tapestry of the strange. And I loved that the romance was minute, just barely in the background.  Abigail was too focused on having the adventure she deserved to worry about men. Though, there is a very charming junior police officer she has her eye on.
The ghostly element reminded me of some classic, British gothic literature. And I think my favorite voice by the narrator was for Jenny, the ghost. I loved that it was the kind of book that had you question the supernatural. Is Jackaby for real? You decide. That is until you meet Jenny, the ghost, and the last assistant who is now a bird who refuses to change back to being human.
There are minor details about politics, feminism, and history too. And there’s even more history at the end with a brief explanation for some of the materials involved in solving the mystery.  This book was fun and suspenseful. I loved he supernatural elements. I loved the humor. And I adored the characters. I give this a 10/10 and I recommend it to fans of Sherlock, and to any YA reader looking for a good mystery

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