Book Review: Jackaby – William Ritter

Title: Jackaby

Author: William Ritter
Synopsis from Goodreads:   

“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.”

Newly arrived in New Fiddleham, New England, 1892, and in need of a job, Abigail Rook meets R. F. Jackaby, an investigator of the unexplained with a keen eye for the extraordinary–including the ability to see supernatural beings. Abigail has a gift for noticing ordinary but important details, which makes her perfect for the position of Jackaby’s assistant. On her first day, Abigail finds herself in the midst of a thrilling case: A serial killer is on the loose. The police are convinced it’s an ordinary villain, but Jackaby is certain it’s a nonhuman creature, whose existence the police–with the exception of a handsome young detective named Charlie Cane–deny.

Doctor Who meets Sherlock in William Ritter’s debut novel, which features a detective of the paranormal as seen through the eyes of his adventurous and intelligent assistant in a tale brimming with cheeky humor and a dose of the macabre.

I picked up this book because I loved the idea of a paranormal Sherlock Holmes, however it took me quite a while to really get invested in this book.  I think that was because this felt more like watching a TV series than  a movie.  As a reader you get a pretty basic idea of the characters and who they were, Jackaby being the easiest since we all know Holmes pretty well, but I didn’t really feel like I got any character depth on any of them.  Jackaby’s character was my favorite because while he did echo all the parts of Sherlock everyone loves, he was very much his own character exhibiting a bit more compassion and personable attributes that Holmes lacked.  I enjoyed the diversity of characters and the legends/theories/stories presented; they made the discovery of ‘who-did-it’ part of the book more enjoyable.  I believe that people who enjoy Sherlock Holmes, and (in my opinion a better comparison than Dr. Who) the TV Series Grimm, this book (series) will have a lot of appeal.

Rated:  PG
Genre: Fiction – Mystery
Rating: 4 Stars

Immortal in Death – J.D. Robb

Immortal in Death by J.D. Robb
Genre: Mystery & Detective
Form: Audio Book
Series: In Death
Narrator: Susan Ericksen

When a top model is murdered, police lieutenant Eve Dallas discovers that the world of high fashion thrives on an all-consuming obsession for youth and fame. One that leads from the runway to the dark underworld of New York City, where drugs can be found to fulfill any desire–for any price. J.D. Robb is the pseudonym of New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts.

One word summary: Riveting
I felt like Immortal in Death ended a few concerns in my mind about Eve and her relationship to Roarke. I just cannot imagine what J. D. Robb continues to write about for another 20 or so books, but I felt like this was a break through for Eve in many ways. Not only does she clear up some questions about the past as her flashbacks all join together into clear memory of what took place when she was a child, but she also comes to some realizations about Roarke and her love and marriage to him. When she explained to Roarke that marriage was not a tradition or a contract, but that it was a promise, and she always kept her promises, I felt the finality of the situation in that statement. I hope I’m not disappointed in the future.
The mystery in this book also took me by surprise. I’m always trying to guess who did it as the investigation proceeds. This is another aspect of these books I love, you get the investigation in detail and it’s wonderful! The description, the thought process, it’s just another mark of what a great writer J. D. Robb (Nora Roberts) really is.

Visions of Sugar Plums – Janet Evanovich

Visions of Sugar Plums by Janet Evanovich
Genre: Adult Fiction

Form: Audio Book

Series: Stephanie Plum

Narrator: Lorelei King

It’s five days before Christmas and things are not looking merry for Fugitive Apprehension Agent Stephanie Plum. She hasn’t got a tree. She hasn’t bought any presents. The malls are jam-packed with staggering shoppers. There’s not a twinkle light anywhere to be seen in her apartment. And there’s a strange man in her kitchen.

Sure, this has happened to Stephanie Plum before. Strangers, weirdos, felons, creeps, and lunatics are always finding their way to her front door. But this guy is different. This guy is mysterious, sexy-and he has his own agenda. His name is Diesel and he is a man on a mission. And Diesel is unlike anyone Stephanie has ever met before in her life. The question is, what does he want with her? Can he help her find a little old toy maker who has skipped out on his bail right before Christmas? Can he survive the Plum family holiday dinner? Can he get Stephanie a tree that doesn’t look like it was grown next to a nuclear power plant? These questions and more are keeping Stephanie awake at night. Not to mention the fact that she needs to find a bunch of nasty elves, her sister Valerie has a Christmas “surprise” for the Plums, her niece Mary Alice doesn’t believe in Santa anymore, and Grandma Mazur has a new stud muffin. So bring out the plastic reindeer, strap on your jingle bells, and get ready to celebrate the holidays-Jersey style. “Visions of Sugar Plums”-the world of Plum has never been merrier.

I’m shocked, a Stephanie Plum I wasn’t too crazy about. I’m not exactly what it was I didn’t care for about this book, except maybe it felt rushed. You never got a good idea of who Diesel was, which I guess could have been purposefully done. He also took on too many Ranger-like qualities, in a mysterious, handsome, “he’s got his ways,” type of way. The action was sub-par as well, and it all seemed, well, cheesy. I’m a big Stephanie Plum fan, but this wasn’t her greatest adventure.

Glory in Death – J. D. Robb

Glory in Death by J.D. Robb
Genre: Adult Mystery & Detective
Form: Audio Book
Series: In Death Series
Narrator: Susan Ericksen

In a time when technology can reveal the darkest of secrets, there’s only one place to hide a crime of passion – in the heart. . . The first victim was found lying on a sidewalk in the rain. The second was murdered in her own apartment building. Police lieutenant Eve Dallas had no problem finding connections between the two crimes. Both victims were beautiful and highly successful women. Their glamorous lives and loves were the talk of the city. And their intimate relations with men of great power and wealth provided Eve with a long list of suspects – including her own lover, Roarke. As a woman, Eve was compelled to trust the man who shared her bed. But as a cop, it was her job to follow every lead . . .to investigate every scandalous rumor . . .to explore every secret passion, no matter how dark. Or how dangerous.

I never would have thought of myself as a crime/mystery book reader, but here I am in love with a mystery series. I’m sure it has a lot to do with the characters, and the world that J.D. Robb has created. It’s amazing to be transformed into a future (yet not all together unbelievable with the way our technology advances) setting. But more than that, the stories created in this series are amazing captivating. You just have to find out what happens. Of course Eve and Roarke’s relationship helps in moving the plot along as well.

Once again, my hat’s off to the narrator, Susan Ericksen. The production of the audio book is wonderful. I love it when you can feel the emotion of the characters, and I must say – when Roarke says “Eve, I love you” in his lovely Irish accent, you can feel it in your toes. There are some books that are just better as an audiobook, and I would hesitate to say that this series is one of them, in fact I think that I would love to sit and read these books – but Susan really makes it a very enjoyable experience.

Naked In Death by J.D. Robb

Naked in Death by J.D. Robb
Genre: Adult – Mystery & Detective
Form: Audio Book
Series: In Death

Eve Dallas is a New York police lieutenant hunting for a ruthless killer. In over ten years on the force, she’s seen it all – and knows that her survival depends on her instincts. And she’s going against every warning telling her not to get involved with Roarke, an Irish billionaire – and suspect in Eve’s murder investigation. But passion and seduction have rules of their own, and it’s up to Eve to take a chance in the arms of a man she knows nothing about – except the addictive hunger of needing his touch.

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This is the beginning of a loooong series that has been recommended to me by several people. I can see why. I like Stephanie Plum, the bounty hunter that accidently get’s her man every time. I like Mackalya Lane – who hunts evil Fae, and with no real training, pulls off some pretty sweet moves. It’s only natural I’m going to like Eve Dallas, the futuristic cop who is the best at the job. I am concerned about the length of the series, and the fact I’m coming in on it so late in the game. On one hand, it’s good – because I don’t have to wait forever for the next book to come out. On the other hand – with over 20 books into the series, there is a chance that I will get bored with it. Plus, I like status quo right now. Roarke made such a great beau for Eve, I don’t want to see that boat rocked, but I can’t see how that will be possible with such a long lasting series.
Naked in Death, and probably the other books in the series – is much more serious and graphic than I am used to. The crimes committed are described in great detail, and you even get to be a witness in some cases. I just hope there is not much more involvement with kids. Having three kids of my own, I’m not really interested in reading about child abuse, murder, etc. It’s just too much for me to handle.
I was really shocked at J.D. Robb’s (aka Nora Roberts) ability to create such a wonderful setting. She has developed an entire new future, one that probably really isn’t that far off the mark. I completely understand the need for a pen name, because this is so very far off the track from what I’ve read out of Nora Roberts in the past. I imagine it’s hard to make such a drastic genre change without some repercussions. Actually, I have seen first hand some of the results of that kind of change in some of the reviews of Karen Marie Moning’s Fever Series. Some of her fans picked up the series expecting it to be somewhat reminiscent of her Highlander series, and while the books are excellent (my opinion of course) they are not the same. I think some fans felt a bit duped – and Karen Marie Moning made just a little bit of a change. What Nora Roberts has done is way different from her norm.

I am captivated. I love this look at the future, I love the characters. The writing is great! This will definitely become one of my favorite series – I can tell already.

Seven Up – Janet Evanovich

Seven Up by Janet Evanovich
Genre: Adult Mystery
Form: Audio Book
Series: Stephanie Plum Series

Semi-retired mob guy, Eddie DeChooch, is caught trafficking contraband cigarettes through Trenton, New Jersey. When DeChooch fails to show for a court appearance, bond enforcement agent Stephanie Plum is assigned the task of finding him and dragging his decrepit ass back to jail. Not such an easy job, it turns out, since DeChooch has learned a lot of tricks over the years and isn’t afraid to use his gun. He’s already shot Loretta Ricci and left her for worm food in his shed. He wouldn’t mind shooting Stephanie next.
Likeable losers (and former high school classmates) Walter “MoonMan” Dunphy and Dougie “The Dealer” Kruper have inadvertently become involved with DeChooch. They’ve gotten sucked into an operation which is much more than simple cigarette smuggling and holds risks far greater than anyone could have imagined.
When Dougie disappears, Steph goes into search mode. When Mooner disappears, she calls in the heavy artillery and asks master bounty hunter Ranger for help. Ranger’s price for the job? One night with Stephanie, dusk to dawn. Not information she’d want to share with her some-time live in roommate, vice cop Joe Morelli.
A typical dilemma in the world of Plum.
And on the homefront, Stephanie’s “perfect” sister Valerie has decided to move back to Trenton, bringing her two kids from hell. Grandma Mazur is asking questions about being a lesbian, and Bob, the bulimic dog, is eating everything in sight-including the furniture.
Mud wrestling, motorcycles, fast cars, fast food, and fast men. It’s Seven Up. Absolutely Janet Evanovich at her very best.

My comments:
Love the addition of the Harley, although I just can’t imagine doing bounty hunter stuff, with a two-hundred pounds of “back up” in tow as well. Wonder how long this is going to last…(probably not very, knowing Stephanie). Also…..HELLO Ranger.