The Jackaby series – Fun and yet surprisingly serious

Jackaby by William Ritter Beastly Bones by William Ritter Ghostly Echoes by William Ritter The Dire King by William Ritter

Genre: Mystery; Fantasy
Publication Date: 16 September 2014; 22 September 2015; 23 August 2016; 22 August 2017
Source: Mine. All mine.

Synopsis from the Publisher:

“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.

Doctor Who meets Sherlock…, which features a detective of the paranormal as seen through the eyes of his adventurous and intelligent assistant in a tale brimming with cheeky humor and a dose of the macabre.”

My Thoughts: I read the first book in the series back when it was first released. I loved it but never got around to finishing the series. That is, until I had finally caught up on review copies for February and found myself looking for something new to read. There are so many books I could have chosen during this time – other series I have been meaning to finish, books that have been languishing on my shelves for over a decade. Yet, the Jackaby series is exactly what I needed at that point in time.

The series never takes itself too seriously. It is as raucous and bizarre as the synopsis indicates. At the same time, it is very much a story with heart. Jackaby is more than the odd detective with rare skills. He has a hidden soft side that you don’t really understand until the end of the second novel. Abigail has spunk, which is something you realize almost immediately but which never fails to impress throughout the series. Even better, every once in a while there would be a sentence so in keeping with some of the brouhaha in today’s society that I had to stop and marvel at its perfection. I found myself looking forward to these gems even as they continued to surprise me when I finally ran across one.

I went into reading these novels expecting silly fun with great characters and a good mystery. What I got out of them was so much more than that. They are reminders to love and accept one another in spite of or maybe even because of our differences. They are reminders to keep your mind and your heart open and to never fail to help someone in need. They are affirmations that we are more than the boundaries set by others and that we all deserve the chance to grow and shine. While still quirky and highly entertaining, they are also inspiring. Honestly, you cannot get much better than that.

3 Responses to The Jackaby series – Fun and yet surprisingly serious
  1. Kay
    March 8, 2018 | 10:01 AM

    Exactly the sort of thing that I like in YA books. Concepts that need to be repeated over and over – for all of us. I’ve already got this series on my radar. Who knows when I’ll get to it, but I imagine it will happen at just the right time.

    • Michelle
      March 8, 2018 | 11:42 AM

      They are such good, forward-thinking concepts. And the way he incorporates them into the books is so straight-forward that it comes across as a breath of fresh air. No beating around the bush. No pretending or being coy. There is one line in particular that is going to stick with me forever.

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