This has been on my shelf for the longest time and I finally did it! I read this book, well, listened to the audio actually. I’m very sad to say I was not as impressed as I had hoped.
Abigail Rook left England to get away from the life that had already been decided for her (becoming a trophy wife to someone she doesn’t know or love and having a lot of children). She runs away to the States and finds her way to New Fiddleham. This place was so different from Englad that Abigail was over the moon excited at everything. She sets out in search of a job and stumbles across a flyer looking for an assistant.. but not just any assistant, a detective assistant. Abigail quickly finds herself on the doorstep of R. F. Jackaby. Jackaby is an investigator of the unexplained about. Abigail is not about to walk away from her dream job because there are some ‘unexplained parts’. She quickly joins Jackaby while he investigates a string of strange and unusual murders. Strange and unusual because they are rather … paranormal.
This story was pitched as “Doctor Who meets Sherlock”. Those are strong words. Sadly, I am not a Doctor Who fan so I did not understand that reference at all. I am a small Sherlock fan, but only a small one because I was not the biggest fan of his character. With both of those against me, you would think I would have passed on this book outright. I wanted to experience for myself if this book lived up to the hype. As I mentioned above, this book left me feeling underwhelmed. The storyline itself was not difficult to follow, it was the execution. Let me explain.
The characters: Jackaby is one of the oddest, rudest, most direct and literal characters I hae ever read. The audio probably made that more profound. The narrator for Jackaby was over the top proper with his dialect, which made me wonder what I was listening to. Abigail was a nice character, but a typical heroine of this time period. She wanted to be bigger than what she was born in to. I get it but it wasn’t very original. The rest of the characters were all around… odd. They fit into the story but some felt forced. Others felt strange for the sake of being strange. You want to include a duck and say he’s a former assistant? Meh, ok. I’ll let you have that. You have a ghost that lives with you because it was originally her house while she was alive? Uh… alright. What I couldn’t shake was how much every single one of these characters matched up with a Sherlock character.
The storyline: I wasn’t too keen on the story line. Someone dies but Jackaby doesn’t (ever) believe it is cut and dry as someone murdering someone else. Oh no. He believes there is always paranormal envolvment. Whatever blows your hair back, Jackaby. Parts of this story felt like the writer was trying to make a round peg fit into a square hole. I just didn’t jive with everything paranormal thrown into this story. I can say with certainty that there is no cliffhanger at the end of this book. It was surprising but not jaw-dropping.
I am not sure if I want to continue the series. I know I probably should but it really didn’t blow me away. I don’t want to read a book that leaves me feeling as if I should have read something else. I’m not upset that I read this, not in the least. I’m just not excited enough to want to continue with the series. I do recommend that everyone give this a try because as of lately, I have been the black sheep with books.