The most explosive and intense chapter yet in William Ritter’s Jackaby series, Ghostly Echoes sees the triumphant return of the titular detective and his plucky assistant Abigail Rook. Readers will not want to miss this third book, as the pair embarks on their most dangerous and personal case yet.
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.
Though all of the Jackaby books to date feature death and gruesome crime scenes, in some ways it felt as if Ghostly Echoes was, perhaps, the darkest of the series to date. There is a grim intensity to the story as it unfolds, and the fates of Abigail, Jackaby, and their friends are very directly threatened.
And while this book itself presents a mystery to investigate and solve, in many ways Ghostly Echoes massively expands the world of Jackaby and his companions, blowing open quiet threads that have, until now, been background whispers to a bolder plot. Indeed, Ritter is clearly setting the stage for a grander and much more all-encompassing story. Something bigger than the cases Jackaby and Abigail investigate is at work, and this book lays the foundation for what I can only imagine will be an explosive next installment.
That’s not to say that Ghostly Echoes suffers for it; Ritter has a knack for weaving together a solid and satisfying story within the confines of this single volume while still laying out pieces for a larger framework. It’s truly delightful to learn more about Jenny’s history, and delve deeper into her character and her past. The unusual friendship between Jenny, and both Abigail and Jackaby, is remarkable and refreshing.
Fans of the Jackaby series won’t hesitate to pick up this third volume, but if you’ve been dallying about, there is no time like now to get started — with three books to binge read. And much like the TV shows this series is so often compared to — “like Sherlock meets Doctor Who” (an apt descriptor that I use often) — you will want to binge.
Ghostly Echoes is in stores August 23rd.