(Twitter, Goodreads)Published by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill on September 22nd 2015
Genres: 19th Century, Fantasy & Magic, Historical, Mysteries & Detective Stories, United States, Young Adult
In the highly anticipated sequel to the acclaimed Jackaby, Abigail Rook and Sherlockian detective of the supernatural R. F. Jackaby are back and on the trail of a thief, a monster, and a murderer."I've found very little about private detective R. F. Jackaby to be standard in the time I've known him. Working as his assistant tends to call for a somewhat flexible relationship with reality." In 1892, New Fiddleham, New England, things are never quite what they seem, especially when Abigail Rook and her eccentric employer, R. F. Jackaby, are called upon to investigate the supernatural. First, a vicious species of shape-shifters disguise themselves as a litter of kittens, and a day later, their owner is found murdered with a single mysterious puncture wound. Then in nearby Gad's Valley, now home to the exiled New Fiddleham police detective Charlie Cane, dinosaur bones from a recent dig mysteriously go missing, and an unidentifiable beast starts attacking animals and people, leaving their mangled bodies behind. Charlie calls on Abigail for help, and soon Abigail and Jackaby are on the hunt for a thief, a monster, and a murderer.Praise for Jackaby:"Ritter's debut skillfully blends science with the supernatual and balances whimsy with violence." --Kirkus Reviews, starred review "Toss together an alternate 19th-century New England city, a strong tradition of Sherlockian pastiche, and one seriously ugly hat, and this lighthearted and assured debut emerges, all action and quirk." --Publishers Weekly, starred review "A riveting mash-up of mystery and folklore, with vivid details and striking turns of phrase. And Jackaby is an irresistible character." --The Horn Book Magazine
Jackaby was one of my stand out reads last year and when I found out there would be a series of books I was so excited.
Jackaby sets the stage for the series… set in the late 1800’s Abigail and Jackaby are quite the odd pair. Jackaby of course is a private investigator of the paranormal. Abigail just recently joining Jackaby as his assistant, comes from a quite different background but is completely intrigued with the strange things that no one seems to really notice, or want to notice, save Jackaby. She’s found the adventure she wanted in her new life and is diving in head first.
Beastly Bones starts with some crazy shape shifting kittens and New Fiddleham police commissioner Marlowe at the door asking for help to solve a murder of “unnatural causes.” The mysterious puncture wound takes them to Gad’s Valley where the newly exiled Charlie Cane is living and dinosaur bones are found and a very mysterious beast is attacking both animals and people. Charlie needs Jackaby and Abigail to help find out what is going on.
That sounds like there is quite a bit going on in this story, and there is, but Ritter weaves it all together quite nicely. Ritter has created an incredibly unique character in Jackaby who is all at once wildly intelligent, endearing and slightly awkward and he steals every scene he’s in in these books. His straight forward way of laying out the facts and observing everything around him make him incredibly interesting. It’s almost easy to understand the balance that Abigail provides Jackaby to make their working relationship work, as well as this story.
I also loved some of the new characters we were introduced to, from the archeologists to Hank Hudson to the news reporter, they all added new elements to the story and allowed for some of the more light-hearted moments. I do have to say that I’m especially excited to hopefully learn more about Jenny though. While she was kind of in the background in parts of this installment, she had some major things going on and I can’t wait to see where that takes the story!
Another thing I’m excited for… Romance!! We were given hints of a romance in book 1 and I’m so happy to say that Beastly Bones really has me excited to see if an when Charlie and Abigail can work things out. It’s not going to be easy but I totally ship them.
If you’re looking for a fun read, filled with quirky characters and lots of the paranormal, you definitely need to be reading these books. Ritter tells an amazingly unique story full of action and mystery.
Thank you to Algonquin Books for the advanced copy in exchange for my honest thoughts!