“Miss Rook, I am not an occultist,” Jackaby said. “I have a gift that allows me to see truth where others see the illusion–and there are many illusions. All the world’s a stage, as they say, and I seem to have the only seat in the house with a view behind the curtain.”

Jackaby is an 1892 New England ‘detective’ of the odd sort: he can see paranormal and supernatural creatures. Fresh off the boat, a Miss Abigail Rook is drawn into his latest case: A serial murderer on the loose that may not be entirely human. With the help of Charlie, who has some secrets of his own, will they be able to solve the case before more people die?

I thought this book was delightful. It was fast paced and I finished it in about three days. I will be doing a list of things that I enjoyed, did not enjoy, and then give my overall rating at the end. I will be starting with the cons to get it out of the way.


  • For a book that relies heavily on Jackaby’s abilities, there wasn’t a lot of examples of said abilities. Until the very end, there was only brief mention in passing of fantastical beasts and where to find them, but no actual showing.
  • Jackaby was kind of…unoriginal. Now, I’ve seen Sherlock, and Jackaby has hardly any defining feature to set him apart from him. The main thing is his ‘seeing’ ability, but other than that…meh.
  • Jackaby doesn’t seem to have much (if any) character growth. He just seems to stay the exact same throughout the book.

Okay, enough of that! Onto the good stuff!


  • Writing style. This writing style is simplistic but also not bland, if that makes sense? It isn’t dripping with over descriptive text or spouting nonsensical metaphors that Shakespeare would tilt his head at. It made the book seem to fly by and never drag.
  • Although Jackaby didn’t have that much development, Abigail had plenty. She went from a meek girl who didn’t know what she wanted to a strong girl who demanded to be heard and not give a rat’s patoot what anyone thought.
  • NO LOVE TRIANGLE! If you follow me on Goodreads you saw that I specifically hoped for no love triangle, and there wasn’t.
  • I loved how Abigail didn’t put other girls down when she was compared to girls of…undesireable taste by the society around her.

Final thoughts:

This is an amazing book. I would have to give it 4.5/5 stars as a total because the cons didn’t subtract hugely from the overall story. I highly recommend this to anyone who wants a quick mystery read.

Goodreads Link