With the recent return of BBC’s Sherlock TV show, there's nothing that warms the heart this winter season like snarky detectives and their underrated assistants. William Ritter’s Jackaby is the first installment about a man who can see the supernatural who teams up with a woman who can deduce from ordinary details.
Jackaby and Abigail Rook may mirror Holmes and Watson, but they are actually on equal standing in solving the mystery. Jackaby may be able to see "beyond" other people's sight, but he doesn't pick up on the small ordinary details, which is where Abigail comes in. It's a welcome change. They hold a familiar dynamic between each other that I’ve seen in other detective stories. The friendship isn’t unnecessarily dramatic; instead, it feels like an easy chair next to a warm fireplace on a cold night. The comfort developed between the two of them spreads into the rest of the book and gives it its charm. It reminds me of days watching Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes and hardback Nancy Drew books.
An attractive note is that there is no romance between Jackaby and Abigail during the story, which is a breath of fresh air when many other Young Adult books are overly focused on love. The plot is the star of every mystery novel and thankfully, this is a fun-filled complicated one. The inclusion of paranormal creatures was such a good call while the book stays compelling and fast-paced without overloading you with too much information. Take a chance on this series for the new year, as a solid, refreshing read for your inner child, whether you grew up with Sherlock, Nancy, the Hardy Boys, or just taking a chance on the genre as a whole.
-Vania, (Dusen)Berry Blogger and member of the River Teen Advisory Board