Jackaby #1. Author: William Ritter.
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. (Published summary.)
The premise is rather hackneyed. An eccentric detective and his clever assistant, off to solve the crimes even the police fail on? It’s been done before. Kind of a lot. But the paranormal aspect is new, and Ritter’s grasp of mythology is admirable. Rather than going with the cliched paranormals that are everywhere right now, like vampires and werewolves, he’s taken in their lesser-known cousins to weave an unusual murder mystery. And even if cliched, Jackaby was an interesting, amusing, and highly quotable character. Over all, I liked it.
Sexual content: Female character is reluctant to change clothes in front of a duck-who-used-to-be-human; a female ghost laughs at her and says she used to watch him (the duck) change all the time when he was human, but then they both leave and give her privacy.
Language: 5 d***, 3 derogatory terms, 1 hell
Violence: Character hits a man in the face. Characters find dead bodies – torn-up chest and spreading blood. Rather vicious fight using fists, teeth, and claws between two paranormal creatures. One of them is shot in the chest, then killed.