Monday, September 10, 2018

Jackaby, the Third Novel - Ghostly Echoes

It finally dawned on me while I was reading this third book in the Jackaby series what it is about these stories and characters that seem so familiar to me - Jackaby is a supernatural version of Doctor Who! While Doctor Who traverses time and space with his companions helping people along the way, Jackaby and his companion, Abigail Rook, traverse the early American countryside saving people from supernatural terrors.  Like the Doctor's companions, Abigail Rook keeps Jackaby grounded and helps him see things from a more human perspective.  And like the Doctor, Jackaby is a bit of a mystery - he is human in appearance, but he is so much more than that. So, that explains why I love this series so much!

There has been an ongoing subplot throughout these books involving Jenny Cavanaugh, the ghost in whose home Jackaby has made his office and living quarters. Jenny is unable to remember how she died, who killed her, or why she was killed. But in this third novel, Ghostly Echoes, all is finally revealed. Abigail has been working with Jenny to slowly bring her memories back, but an unexpected meeting with a deadly vampire, as well as the deaths of local scientists and their wives, suddenly open the floodgates, and Jenny literally explodes with memories of what happened!

Author William Ritter does an excellent job at building suspense within the story, and he interjects just the right amount of humor to keep the story light (despite its dark, supernatural nature) without making it over-the-top or too comical. His characterization has been exceptional, as all three of the main characters - Jackaby, Abigail Rook, and Jenny Cavanaugh - have all grown considerably in these first three books, the reader finding out more and more about each of them as the series progresses. I would love to have seen more of Charlie (Abigail's werewolf boyfriend), but alas, I guess we can't have everything...

The story in this book centers around a murder in New Fiddleham - a woman found dead in her home, a struggle apparent with clothing torn around the neck and the cause of dead is a single deep laceration to the chest. The deceased was the wife of a scientist working on a project for the city. Jackaby's interest in the case is immediately clear to Abigail - the details are identical to Jenny's murder! Their involvement becomes more imperative when another scientist's body is discovered by two boys, and Jackaby fears his wife may be the next victim!

Jackaby is convinced all of these crimes are linked, and he is determined to save Cordelia Hoole (the late scientist's wife) and find out why these crimes are identical to Jenny's murder. In the meanwhile, Jenny has begun to remember details about her own death, which could help solve the crimes in the present. Unfortunately, everyone has secrets, and those secrets could very well spell trouble for everyone involved. Everything leads to a crossing of realms and a dangerous journey with the Greek ferryman to the land of the dead, where Abigail hopes to find Lawrence Hoole, but instead finds someone else entirely - not the person she was searching for, but definitely the person she needed to find!

Everything is staged for the final battle, with the fate of humankind in the balance. While I can't wait to see what the fourth and final book has in store for Jackaby, Abigail, and Jenny, I am somewhat reluctant to pick up that fourth book, as I know it is the last one, and once read, my times with these characters will have reached an end. Why is it that all good things must come to an end?'

RATING:  10 petrified strings made of sheep's gut out of 10 for drawing me into a world that I never want to leave!

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