My last foray into Sherlock Holmes-inspired fiction (Lock & Mori) didn't go very well.  But I'd heard so many raves about Jackaby that I had to try it.

It.  Is.  So.  Good.

Because of the cover art, I thought that the narrator would be the titular Jackaby (note: I really knew nothing about this before starting it except that everyone seemed to LOOOOVE it, so forgive my ignorance).  We are introduced, instead, to one Abigail Rook, lately of an archaeological dig, formerly of England.  Yep: she ran away to be an adventurer.  Instead of the languishing heroines in many books who long to be free and yet remain propped up on their chaise lounges, corseted and curled and bepetticoated.  Too often, they find "freedom" in marriage (note: not really how that works, but whatever).

Abigail, though.  She seriously absconded from her parents' manor and made her way across Europe to a dig site, where she found out (as I did in Archaeology 101 in college) that adventuring and digging up cities is excessively tedious and involves far more dirt than you'd ever like to think about.  Slightly disillusioned with the adventuring life but determined not to return home, Abigail ends up in America and immediately susses out the job options.  There isn't much, but she notices a curious advertisement that eventually leads to her employment by one Jackaby, who is basically Sherlock Holmes meets Doctor Who.  It's fantastic.

Jackaby is a seer; he investigates the paranormal and weird and gets things back in order.  Kind of like a competent Fox Mulder.  The town knows him and knows that he gets results, but they still don't trust him.  He also lives in a house with a ghost and his last assistant suffered a rather unusual accident.  But then, the unusual is usual with Jackaby.

Jackaby and Abigail end up investigating a particularly nasty murder that has no obvious motive, other than perhaps the experience of opening up a person and draining them of their blood (no, not à la vampire).  Due to his excessively unorthodox methods, Jackaby is rather a persona non grata with the local police force, but they begrudgingly admit that he does have some unique insights.

Toss in a banshee, a troll under a dock, and a smolderingly mysterious policeman, and you've got one heck of a ride.  Abigail is pert and hilarious; Jackaby slightly out there and irreverent.  They're a great pair without being A Pair.

The only thing that made me sad was that this was so engrossing that it went by lickety-split!  I wanted more, more, more!  Ah, well, I'll just have to wait for book two.

Highly recommended, with honors!


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