Friday, April 29, 2016

Beastly Bones by William Ritter Book Review

Beastly Bones (Jackaby #2) by William Ritter


Goodreads Synopsis
“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.


  I've never really been into detective books. Don't get my wrong, I love myself some Sherlock on BBC and Raymond Chandler's Detective Marlowe books aren't completely boring, but it's just never really been my cup of tea. Jackaby on the other hand has kind of gotten me into the whole detective thing and I'm currently loving it. Ritter takes Sherlock Holmes and spins it into this crazy supernatural adventure. 
The first book, Jackaby, sets the stage, set in the late 1800's Abigail Rook and R.F. Jackaby are a quirky and unexpected pair. Jackaby being an investigator of the paranormal, and Abigail, his assistant, coming from a different background. Having grown up in England, practically idolizing her father and his work in paleontology, she wants to follow in his footsteps, this is, until he tells her that ladies shouldn't be playing in the dirt and she decide to run away to find her own adventure. Jackaby and his private detective service ends up being the last thing she expected to be apart of, but she dives into this new adventure head first. 
“Follow my lead, Miss Rook," Jackaby said, rapping on the ornately trimmed door to 1206 Campbell Street. Were my employer a standard private investigator, those might have been simple instructions, but in the time I've been his assistant, I've found very little about Jackaby to be standard. Following his lead tends to call for a somewhat flexible relationship with reality.” 
Beastly Bones opens with some Chameleomorphs (shape shifting kittens) and acting police commissioner Marlowe (I'm actually really happy his name is Marlowe) asking for their help with a murder of "unnatural causes". The mysterious death leads them to Gad's Valley where they meet up with exile Charlie Cane, to help in discover the mystery behind some dinosaur bones, a similar murder to the one in New Fiddleham, and an unknown beast that's attacking both animals and people.
There's a lot going on in the story, which can almost be expected from something that is "for fans of Sherlock Holmes", and has so many factors at play. Ritter doesn't miss a beat making every aspect of the story weave together quite nicely and at the same time still have you wanting more. Jackaby's character is definitely something else, he's quirky, intelligent, awkward, and has a way of just laying out the facts and observing all that is around him in a way that no one else does. With all his...quirks... Abigail ends up being exactly what he needs in an assistant; quick learner, good with people, and good at noticing the details many tend to overlook. 

Ritter also introduced some new and refreshing faces to the story, from a couple of archaeologists at each other's throats, the burly Hank Hudson, and the charismatic reporter Nellie Fuller who doesn't take no for an answer. All these character and their seemingly clashing personalities made for some light-hearted moments, and some Scooby-Doo-esc scenes. 
“Hudson blinked, but then he leaned down tentatively and gave the doorknob an obliging sniff. "It smells like...metal?" he said."Not-I don't know-a bit saturnine?" asked Jackaby, "with a hint of stygian exigency?""You know what any of those words mean?" Hudson asked, looking to me for help."I think one of them might be a sort of cheese.” 
 The story itself was full of twists and turns, and some unexpected happenings. Jenny's ghostly situation was definitely one of my favorite aspects, I loved how we got to learn so much more about her and how she contributes to the overall theme of the series. Plus, another character was introduced that may or may not lead to the master mind of the series. With slight hints of romance, which is totally exciting in itself, there was just so much that was leading up to the next big, and the end of Beastly Bones made me so incredibly excited for the third installlment to the series, Ghostly Echoes. So far the series has been such a fun read, especially for those into interestingly crazy characters and the paranormal. Loving everything so far and I can't wait to see what William Ritter has to show us next, (4/5)
“The greatest figures in history are never the ones who avoid failure, but those who march chin-up through countless failures, one after the next, until they come upon the occasional victory.” 

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