Ghostly Echoes (Jackaby, #3) by William Ritter

Received from NetGalley for review.

4.5 stars

‘I prefer to walk because I like to be right up close to the beautiful madness.’

William Ritter has done it again, although I can’t say I’m surprised. Ghostly Echoes is the third book in Ritter’s Jackaby series and, as I expected, it is excellent. This particular novel deals with 926 Augur Lane’s ghostly owner, Jenny Cavanaugh, specifically her decade old murder. When another murder, eerily similar to Jenny’s, occurs in New Fiddleham Jackaby and Abigail take the case and set off down a dark and twisting road full of monsters, vampires, the underworld, and a myriad of other weird and wonderful things. Ritter blends magic, folklore, and science skilfully, creating an extremely vivid world full of fascinating characters, both human and not.

‘There is something humbling about knowing that an entity capable of moving mountains and reshaping continents still takes the time to tend the smallest patch of dirt. Little things matter. Footsteps matter.’

As ever, the writing is excellent – in my first review of Jackaby I knew my prediction would come true: William Ritter is a magnificent writer and this has been clear throughout three novels and a novella. Jackaby could be searching through a telephone book and I would probably read it. Ritter has a way of writing that pulls me in so thoroughly I completely forget that I’m living in modern day England. It feels almost nostalgic – like I’m reading something familiar and comforting whilst being thrown into new worlds and situations, and I’ve felt that way reading each Jackaby story. They are so wonderfully fluid and easy to read.

The plot itself has the potential to be confusing but it never is. There’s an awful lot going on – Jenny’s murder, the pale man finally being revealed, a strange arrangement between New Fiddleham’s mayor and people of science, an unknown ‘council’ – but it all works together, creating a tangled mystery that Jackaby and Abigail, with help of Charlie of course, have to try and figure out before anyone else is killed. Abigail is on top form, as always, and we find out a bit more about Jackaby’s past – something that hasn’t really been touched upon before. You get the impression that everything is somehow connected, it’s just a case of how. Although I found the plot a little busy at times with all the different aspects of the mystery, it never became overly convoluted or confusing, and there was definitely an undercurrent of darkness that was more prevalent than in the previous two novels.

‘It’s about power, Miss Rook. It’s always about power. About who has it, and who gets left behind.’

I can’t recommend this series enough and I can honestly say that I would put it up with Harry Potter and The Hunger Games in terms of excellence (though not quite as high). The first book in the series is by far the best, but Beastly Bones and Ghostly Echoes are both fantastic novels in their own right, and I loved that Jenny’s murder was finally explored in this book. I can’t wait to see how Ritter finishes the series in the next, and final, book.

Read: August 2nd-5th 2016

4.5/5 stars


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