by William Ritter
Series: Jackaby #3
Published on August 23, 2016 by Algonquin Young Readers
Genres: Mystery, Paranormal, Young Adult
Jenny Cavanaugh, the ghostly lady of 926 Augur Lane, has enlisted the investigative services of her fellow residents to solve a decade-old murder—her own. Abigail Rook and her eccentric employer, Detective R. F. Jackaby, dive into the cold case, starting with a search for Jenny’s fiancé, who went missing the night she died. But when a new, gruesome murder closely mirrors the events of ten years prior, Abigail and Jackaby realize that Jenny’s case isn’t so cold after all, and her killer may be far more dangerous than they suspected.
Fantasy and folklore mix with mad science as Abigail’s race to unravel the mystery leads her across the cold cobblestones of nineteenth-century New England, down to the mythical underworld, and deep into her colleagues’ grim histories to battle the most deadly foe she has ever faced.
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It’s finally time for Jenny Cavanaugh to discover who murdered her those ten years ago.
So far, Detective R.F. Jackaby and his assistant, Abigail Rook, have investigated red caps and werewolves, shapeshifters and dragons, and now it’s time to help a ghost. Their ghost, a friend and former owner of their current residence. After Beastly Bones I didn’t have much faith in a third book despite loving Jackaby but Ritter brought his A-game with the best of the series to date.
The plot this time around leads our detectives on a chase around New Fiddleham as events from a decade in the past begin to play out once more. One thing I’ve loved about this series is it combines scientific reality with the supernatural. In the last book it just didn’t work; the balance between the two was off. But Ghostly Echoes doesn’t make the same mistake and the two are impossibly connected.
Abigail proves time and again to be an entertaining narrator. Her telling of events reads almost like a journal, but not enough to be a turn-off for readers who aren’t a fan of the style. Her romance with Charlie continues to flutter in and out of the plot with never enough to really satisfy me. I mentioned it after reading Beastly Bones that it could be done away with and I wouldn’t lose anything.
The one character I want more of is Jackaby. Always Jackaby. Ghostly Echoes highlights Jenny’s character which I absolutely adore and couldn’t be happier about, but in all three books, I have yet to get enough of our quirky detective. Perhaps that’s part of the allure of his character but I want his backstory, not just hints and snippets here and there. Abigail has her story in all three books, we’ve seen Charlie’s fairly well in Jackaby, and now Jenny in this one.
Where is my Jackaby novel?
Like the first two books, the plot moves along at a steady pace. These aren’t the types of books to keep you on the edge of your seat but they’re fun. I likely won’t recall the story for any of them a year from now but what I will remember are the characters. It’s hard to forget someone like Jackaby, and where he goes Abigail goes. Ghostly Echoes brought back more of the wit and snark I remember from Jackaby and I felt the characters rang truer than in Beastly Bones (or perhaps it was the lack of fluff in the book itself).
Ghostly Echoes does leave off on a cliffhanger and I’ll be very disappointed if there isn’t another book as many questions are left unanswered (and I need my Jackaby novel, dammit). Assuming we get book #4, I have a feeling it’s going to be the biggest adventure Jackaby and Abigail venture on yet.
And they’ve already been to the “underworld” so I’m not sure how they’re going to top that.
If you’re looking for a light, quick read featuring a twist on the traditional Sherlock Holmes, check out the first book Jackaby. This isn’t a series to miss out on.