September 21, 2015 • Cee • Reviews

Beastly Bones

Beastly Bones (Jackaby #2) by William Ritter •  September 22, 2015 • Algonquin Young Readers
WebsiteTwitter | Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble |  The Book Depository

“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.


I received this book for free from Algonquin Young Readers in exchange for review consideration. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

First sentence: “Follow my lead, Miss Rook,” Jackaby said, rapping on the ornately trimmed door to 1206 Campbell Street.

Have you read Jackaby? No? You really should, and here are my reasons why. But if you have, well done! You can pick up Beastly Bones, a wonderful sequel that gives you more abnormal cases dealing with the supernatural and humor that’ll have you snickering to yourself.

Lead supernatural investigator, R. F. Jackaby, and his assistant, Abigail Rook, are at it again; they’re on another peculiar case that deals with the murder of various people, all found with a mysterious puncture wound. Is it another serial killer that’s murdering these folks? As the pair investigate what happened, they find that the murders may be linked to the recently dug dinosaur bones in Gad’s Valley where Charlie Cane, former New Fiddleham police detective, had been exiled to. Not only does Beastly Bones give you fossils and murder, it also gives you shape shifters, hilarious new characters and familiar ones, same ole Jackaby being as elusive as ever, and Abigail trying to prove herself.


  • Beastly Bones will make you smile.

I found myself grinning ridiculously in public at the bits of humor in Beastly Bones. It’s subtle, but very effective in breaking the serious moments. You find the humor in Jackaby’s mannerisms, his interactions, and what he says (he made a rolling-your-eyes type of pun that had me snickering despite myself). It makes everything so much delightful, and I cannot stress how wonderfully timed they were.

  • The eclectic new characters were full of life and fit perfectly in this world. 

We are introduced to an eclectic group of character, in Gads Valley, a countryside where dinosaur bones are found, and they were so ridiculous and amusing. There’s Hank Hudson, a trapper with a special interest in rare creatures; he is an associate of Jackaby, having worked with him in the past. He’s a big dude with a happy disposition; he’s always excited about everything supernatural, and it’s quite contagious. There’s also Owen Horner, a rising star in the geological field, and Lewis Lamb, renowned professor and paleontologist, who are always at each other’s throats and making such a mess at dig sites. Nellie Fuller, a journalist, inserts herself in the dig despite protests from Lamb, and roots for Abigail because ladies gotta stick together. When these characters are put in the same place, they are a comical bunch.

  • The case is full of weird disappearances and reappearances, and awesome creatures.

The case in Beastly Bones will make you wonder what the hell is going on! The dinosaur bones keep disappearing and then suddenly reappearing, Horner and Lamb are at each other’s throats, accusing the other for stealing the bones. You’ll just want to know what’s going on!

My favorite part of this sequel is learning about all the creatures that appear or are mentioned like Chameleomorphs and Stymphalian bird (one of the labors that Hercules had to defeat). You can understand Hank Hudson’s fascination with rare creatures because oh boy, what they can do and their history is so captivating.


  • Mysterious R.F. Jackaby is still as mysterious as ever. 

Oh Jackaby, who are you? I want to know more about you! Beastly Bones doesn’t answer any questions about who Jackaby is, nor did it enlighten us about him. There was definitely a lack of Jackaby’s character development, and that disappointed me. Aren’t we supposed to learn new things about him?! Beastly Bones, why didn’t you give me that?

  • Jackaby and Abigail didn’t interact as much as I wanted.

There wasn’t enough! I guess it’s okay since they were following their own leads and interests, but I love the dynamic between the two characters and wanted mooooreeeeee. I wanted more growth in their partnership because it just feels stagnant.

  • There aren’t a lot of character development, but there’s a whole lot of questions.

I learned nothing new about Jackaby or Abigail. Nothing new with their partnership. It was just solely focused on the weird supernatural case. We are hinted at very curious things going on like there’s some mysterious figure pulling the strings in the supernatural world and Jenny Cavanaugh, the spirit that lives at Jackaby’s residence, not dealing with her death. It makes me wonder what the hell is going on.


William Ritter continues to amaze readers with this fascinating world full of eccentric characters and supernatural creatures. He has a great handle on the humor because it’s very subtle and perfectly done. I will definitely be sticking around for the third book because I gotta know what Jackaby and Abigail get themselves into, and what evil lurks in New Fiddleham.

For those who have yet to start this series, you really should!


2 Responses to “REVIEW | Is Beastly Bones by William Ritter Another Winner?”

  1. Claire says:

    Sounds quite interesting… not like one of those WOW reads but entertaining nonetheless.

  2. I am such a fan of these books. I adored both books and found them to be such refreshing and fun reads. I totally agree there hasn’t been much Jackaby reveals yet but I’m hoping we’ll slowly start to find out more about him. I’m glad you are a fan too :-)

Leave a Reply