f the first two Jackaby books felt like ‘case of the week’ mini arcs, it is in this third book that the sinister main arc reveals itself. Returning to the atmosphere of the first book, little things now become tantalizing clues to a large conspiracy – one that our crew of detective, assistant, and ghost will have to solve. But first, Abigail will need to uncover the shrouded truth of Jenny Cavanaugh’s death.
Story: Abigail is working with Jenny – trying to get her to remember the circumstances of her murder and get her to affect the living world with more efficiency. But there’s a reason Abigail has forgotten and Jackaby warns that Abigail may cause more harm than good. But in investigating Jenny’s murder, Abigail will come to recognize that the cases she has worked on with Jackaby in the past are all mysteriously connected – and Jackaby is the epicenter of something very evil in New Fiddleham.
The story continues to have a strong Dickensian feel though this is set in New England. The writing is just as crisp as in previous books, with sharp bon mots and witty misunderstandings. So many are about context, so sharing them here would be pointless, by they are so nicely written as to be a real treat and put a smile on my face often as I progressed through the novel.
We’re given quite a bit of Jackaby’s history – though there is still quite enough mystery to be found in future books in the series. But it was nice to know a bit more about the character since we’ve been given so little in the previous two book. As well, Jenny’s history and how it all interconnects to the series-arc was definitely worth the wait.
If I have one quibble – and this is minor considering this is definitely a 5 star book for me – it’s that we’re going into familiar faerie lore here – unseelie/seelie etc as the main problematic bad guys. I would have liked for something a bit more obscure and inventive (as Maggie Stiefvater did with Scorpio Races). I’m kind of over the whole fae thing in urban fantasy; like werewolves, zombies, and vampires, it’s overdone.
But that said, this is so beautifully written – easy to follow, crisp, no fluff, and definitely free of purple prose. It’s a satisfying book on all levels, with characters we love to follow despite (or perhaps because of) their eccentricities and quirks. Highly recommended and even better than the second novel. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.