Normal teen and abnormal detective unearth more paranormal mysteries in this fast-paced sequel to Jackaby (2014).
Having (narrowly) survived her first investigation with the energetic and eccentric detective R.F. Jackaby, Abigail Rook eagerly assists with his newest case: Mrs. Beaumont’s chameleomorphs, carnivorous shape-shifters masquerading as scaly kittens, presumed extinct but unexpectedly alive in 19th-century New England. Jackaby plunges into one investigation and then another when the police discover Beaumont dead, but Abigail turns her attention to a third mystery—fossils unearthed in Gad’s Valley. A budding sleuth herself, Abigail still craves her paleontologist father’s approval, and when a body is found near the excavation area and the police send for Jackaby, she gets to combine her passions…and work alongside her crush, exiled police officer/shape-shifter Charlie Cane. Accompanied by Charlie and Jackaby’s mountain-man friend, Hank Hudson, the detectives descend on the dig site, where they encounter such secondary but well-sketched characters as a fame-seeking farmer, arguing academics, and a wisecracking female reporter. As bones go missing—and then small livestock—methodical investigation and scientific experimentation yield to madcap chases, slapstick humor, and romance. Ritter’s blends—fantasy and mystery, action and tension, oddball detective and able sidekick—employ but exceed their stock elements. With one case closed but two unsolved, the well-matched, well-written duo will undoubtedly return to fight a more fearsome foe.
A witty and weird adventure equal parts Sherlock and Three Stooges. (Fantasy. 12-18)