Sunday, October 11, 2015

Jackaby / William Ritter / 299 pages / Scary Story, October Challenge

When Abigail Rook arrives in New Fiddleham, New England in 1892 fresh from a year of travels across the sea, she has a choice.  She can costume herself as a ruddy boy or a ridiculous cupcake.  Her father studies dinosaurs and she very much wants to accompany him on a dig.  When he refuses permission, she takes her school tuition and signs up for an expedition to the Carpathian Mountains.  When the dig folds, Abigail inadvertently purchases a ticket for America.  Her first night ashore, she meets Mr. R. F. Jackaby, an investigator of unexplained phenomena.  He has a gift that is unique to him.  He can see truth where others see illusion.  He is, in fact, The Seer.  "For a man who professes to be entirely rational and scientific, he can't seem to steer clear of the impossible and magical."  Working as Jackaby's assistant, Abigail encounters ghosts, banshees, werewolves, and a serial killer.  This page-turner is extraordinarily well-written, has innumerable clever turns of phrase, and is remarkable for its packaging, suspense, and its ability to make the seemingly impossible plausible.

"The truth can be so detrimental to one's credibility."
"I think you must  be confused...but don't feel's a common state...most people are."

Gateway Award Preliminary Nominee 2016-17

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