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Life, Law & Libros

Beastly Bones by William Ritter ARC (3 stars)

William Ritter's debut novel, Jackaby, was a pleasant surprise earlier this year, blending historical and supernatural in an entertaining, suspenseful mix. Beastly Bones has all the silliness, severity and magic of its predecessor. Plus dragons. :)

This ARC was provided by the publisher for review. Some things may have changed in the final version.
Beastly Bones by William Ritter
Series: Jackaby #2
Genres: YA, Paranormal, Historical
Published on September 22, 2015
Published by Algonquin Young Readers
Final Rating: 3 stars
“I’ve found very little about private detective R. F. Jackaby to be standard in the time I’ve known him. Working as his assistant tends to call for a somewhat flexible relationship with reality.”

In 1892, New Fiddleham, New England, things are never quite what they seem, especially when Abigail Rook and her eccentric employer R. F. Jackaby are called upon to investigate the supernatural.

First, a vicious species of shape-shifters disguise themselves as a litter of kittens, and a day later, their owner is found murdered with a single mysterious puncture wound. Then in nearby Gad’s Valley, now home to the exiled New Fiddleham police detective Charlie Cane, dinosaur bones from a recent dig mysteriously go missing, and an unidentifiable beast starts attacking animals and people, leaving their mangled bodies behind. Charlie calls on Abigail for help, and soon Abigail and Jackaby are on the hunt for a thief, a monster, and a murderer.

Beastly Bones has a similar structure to Jackaby: a bit of excitement followed by a lot of investigating and more than a few scrapes, all leading up to an explosive finale. The investigation phase was full of fun character interactions and never boring, and the payoff at the end was literally out of the frying pan and into the fire.

Jackaby continues to be the lovable eccentric with questionable social graces. Abigail Rook continues to be a decent narrator; her occasional dips into sentimentality and romantic floundering were less engaging than the mystery at hand, but thankfully never last long. We reunite with Officer Charlie from the first book, although, despite being present much of the time, he doesn't feel as prominent as he did before. We also meet new characters including a pair of bickering archaeologists, a hardheaded journalist, and a hunter with a penchant for supernatural game.

I was pleased to find that, unlike in the first book, the reader has a better chance at solving the mystery his/herself in Beastly Bones. There are clues that will logically line up, as opposed to requiring obscure paranormal knowledge--which the narrator does not possess--in order to identify the culprit.

The book ends after solidly wrapping up the mystery at hand, but also sets the stage for big reveals and a mystery decades old with dark implications for our heroes and their friends. I'm curious to see who the puppet master is and can't wait to see what strange adventures find Jackaby and Rook next.


  1. UGH! I need to read these and STAT. They still are some amazing covers too. Any word on how long the series will be?

    1. Yes, yes you do. :) Not sure on how long the series will be, but given the ending on this one, there has to be at least one more if not two. And the story structure definitely leaves room for more.