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.
©2014 Original material © 2014 R. William Ritter. Published by arrangement with Algonquin Young Readers, an imprint of Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, a division of Workman Publishing, Inc. (P)2014 (p) 2014 HighBridge Company
This book's description lead me to imagine a young Sherlock Holmes and his assistant, a young female Companion (like in Dr. Who). That is pretty much what I got - with a few other modifications. Jackaby is a prickly, fast-talking, socially-awkward pontificator much like Holmes, though without the darker sociaopathic edge of the true Sherlock. He runs his own investigative service and butts in on police cases as Sherlock does. However, our Jackaby sees fae/faeries, ghosts, and other supernatural creatures, which Holmes would have had no truck with. The fantastic element is used by the author to lighten the mood of the book, add humor, and hone Jackaby's sharper edges (perhaps to the character's detriment overall). Abigail Rook, our girl Friday, is lovely, open, intrepid, and game for adventure. She has run off from her scientific parents and dull university studies to seek adventure, so she is primed to take a job as strange Jackaby's new assistant and to discover this supernatural world. Her presence and the fae all make the book seem aimed at a YA audience, and help to tone down the grisly bloody murders that the book is focused on.
All in all, the book should appeal to Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Who fans, but may be a bit light and a bit YA to really satisfy adult readers. I was never sure how old Jackaby was - early twenties? Some of the bumbling absent-mindedness of the characters seemed to show immaturity, yet he is presented as a man rather than a young man when talking to the police. No one really seems to raise an eyebrow at Abigail living at his house unescorted though. The audio narration by Nicola Barber is very good, energetic and smooth.
What happens when Sherlock has a son with supernatural sight? You get "Jackaby". Jackaby is without a doubt a good listen. The mystery kept me on my toes, and there were multiples times I cried out "noo" as the story unfolded. Also Nicola Barber did a fantastic job as narrator. Her voices were clear, unique, and added to the characters.
The voice for the main character was fine, thankfully. The others sound fake, cartoonish, and wildly exaggerated, like you might use to tell a story to a toddler. The worst voice was Jackaby's.... with it's grating "doofus" quality, and the strange staccato thing she does with it... It's unbearable.
The story is okay, but extremely clean and young. Extremely. This makes other Young Adult books look dark and challenging.
I had doubts about this one, but it was awesome. The narrator was amazing (especially the over-pronunciation of Jacoby's words). It was fun. I highly recommend this.
Not bad. I listen to books when I run; this one frequently failed to hold my interest. I would find my thoughts drifting away and "come back" to the books after several minutes of not paying attention. It got better in the middle and by the end I can say I enjoyed it, but I likely will not listen to it again.
YA mystery with oddities... sounds familiar and done before, so I was hesitant but thought I'd give it a shot. Very glad I did. The narration was excellent, though I had to become accustomed to the way Jackaby was done. At first I thought his voice was overdone, with all the specific Pro-NuN-Ci-aTioN of each word, but it grew on me, and helped to solidify his character in my mind. I liked the character development, again keep in mind this is YA so it's not too deep, but it is more dimensional than I expected.
Basically, an easy, entertaining listen that didn't demand too much of me other than to follow along. I'm hoping this is or will be a series of books. I'd give another a shot as well.
I'm glad I took a chance on this little book and will read the next in the series. I liked the main characters, the magical creatures, the setting. The villain was a bit predictable and the climax on the gory side. A solid performance as well.
Abigail Rook, newly arrived in New Fiddleham, New England, finds herself in the employ of R.F. Jackaby, a detective of sorts who specializes in weird and unexplained occurrences. Most of New Fiddleham thinks that Jackaby is pretty weird and barely tolerable, but Abigail left home some months ago seeking adventure, so this situation suits her fine. On the first day of her employment Abigail joins Jackaby on the hunt for a serial killer, who Jackaby is convinced is not human.
William Ritter's debut novel, Jackaby, is a lot of fun. It's an historical urban fantasy and, yes there is a serial killer, but there is also a lot of quirk in this story. Jackaby, especially, is incredibly funny in a Sherlock Holmsian kind of way. In other words, he is 100% serious about all the weird things he says and does. Abigail is plucky and loveable. I would really like to read about more of the duo's adventures. I can see them becoming one of the many beloved crime fighting teams.
And let's just admire that cover a little longer. I've seen it in the running for most beautiful cover of the year, a position is most definitely deserves.
I love all of Nicola Barber's narrations. She does a great job as Abigail.
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