By William Ritter
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, members of a particularly vicious species of shapeshifters disguise themselves as a litter of kittens. A day later, their owner is found murdered, with a single mysterious puncture wound to her neck. Then, in a nearby Gad’s Valley, dinosaur bones from a recent dig go missing, and an unidentifiable beast attacks animals and people, leaving their mangled bodies behind. Policeman Charlie Cane, exiled from new Fiddleham to the valley, calls on Abigail for help, and soon Abigail and Jackaby are on the hunt for a thief, a monster, and a murderer.
This sequel to “Jackaby” is just as oddly cute as the first book. This book centers more on Abigail than Jackaby, however, and has a more definite young adult book feel to it. I enjoyed the first book because it was quirky and reminded me strongly of Doctor Who with the unconventional protagonist of R.F. Jackaby, who I’m convinced we will never know his actual first name (Coincidence? I think not). Abigail is fine as a narrator, but she does start to grate on my nerves a little in this one. She can be a little too contradictory in nature. She’s described as an independent thinker, but she also comes across as being slow. I understand that it can be difficult to write giving the reader more information than the characters have, but if not handled very well it makes the characters seem stupid when they aren’t. I wish the book focused a little more on the mystery of Jackaby. There are a lot of blanks to fill in with him that I would like to know about. It was rather disappointing to see this turn in plot for the series and I’m hoping that it won’t be exclusively about Abigail. She is slotted as the book’s ‘everyman’ that the reader will be able to identify with, but Jacaby is so much more interesting that it’s because of him that I’ll keep reading. While I didn’t like this sequel as much as the first, I still plan on reading the next book which is about another interesting character, the original owner of Jackaby’s house, the ghost, Jenny.
I give this a 3 out of 5