My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The second instalment in the historical, paranormal thriller and surprisingly funny Jackaby series does not disappoint! As Jenny Cavanaugh, the agency’s resident ghost, begins to spiral out of control, adventurous assistant-cum-sidekick Abigail Rook and her boss, eccentric detective R. F. Jackaby, set off into the New England countryside to solve another confounding mystery where people are turning up dead with a single puncture wound and bruise on their throats. Meanwhile, massive, prehistoric bones of an unidentified creature discovered at a local farm bring on a wide variety of characters–rival palaeontologists, police officer/shape-shifter Charlie Cane whom we met in the first Jackaby adventure, our detectives, a resident tracker that in many ways resembles a more cutthroat version of Harry Potter’s Hagrid with equally dangerous fantastical beasts—and keeps everyone guessing about what kind of bones they are and whether there is another monster on the loose until the very end. This book takes place offstage from Jacaby’s office in the city of New Fiddleham, an adventure highlighting the worsening situation with ghostly Jenny who is beginning to have frightening breaks with reality, wreaking supernatural destruction on her former home, and causing both Jackaby and Abigail to realize that Jenny might be finally ready to deal with her own gruesome murder from ten years before. Despite Jackaby and Abigail no closer to solving the murders that they set out to investigate due to being interrupted by the discovery of the beastly bones, the diversion is a particularly clever one, a rollercoaster ride of an adventure that has it’s fair share of gruesome deaths and, after a dash of the romance heating up between Abigail and Charile, sets up the ominous return to Jenny and solving her murder in the next book, Ghostly Echoes.
This series is the perfect read alike for fans (like me and my family) of Jonathan Stroud’s Lockwood & Co. novels, too. Recommended for grades 6 and up.