Cover of Ghostly Echoes, featuring a in a blue shirt and a woman in a dark dress inside a woman's profile on a purple background

About the Book

Title: Ghostly Echoes (Jackaby #3)
Published: 2016

Cover Story: Montell Jordan
BFF Charm: Platinum Edition
Talky Talk: Will’s Wit
Bonus Factors: More Jenny, Transgender Rights
Relationship Status: ‘Till Death Do Us Part

Danger, Will Robinson! Ghostly Echoes is the third book in the Jackaby series. If you have not read the first two books—Jackaby and Beastly Bones—turn away now. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. If you have read the first two books, however, feel free to continue below. I will refrain from major spoilers in my review, but there might be hints at plot points and details about the larger story.

Cover Story: Montell Jordan

GIF from Montell Jordan's music video "This Is How We Do It"

Yet another gorgeous cover, which—thank goodness—is totally in keeping with the rest of the gorgeously covered series. First we had turquoise, then yellow, and now purple—any guesses on what the color the fourth book’s cover will be? (I’m throwing my vote for red out there now.)

The Deal:

After solving seemingly disconnected cases, R.F. Jackaby and his intrepid assistant Abigail Rook have come to the realization that each of their smaller cases are leading them toward a much larger—and much more sinister—plot. And, surprisingly, that unraveling the mystery surrounding the death of Jenny Cavanaugh, the previous tenant and current haunter of 926 Augur Lane, is the first step in solving it all.

BFF Charm: Platinum Edition

BFF platinum charm

As much as Ghostly Echoes is about Jenny and unraveling the mystery of her death, Abigail remains the true hero of this series. She’s the practical one, the one with common sense, the only “normal” person in her small, strange circle. Abigail often frets that being normal makes her a liability in certain situations, she finds out in this book that sometimes it’s good to be normal. And normal doesn’t mean boring, nor does it mean that she’s not a vital part of the team. It’s great to see her realize that for herself.

Swoonworthy Scale: 5

There’s not a whole lot of literal action in Ghostly Echoes, but there are some moments of sweet, innocent swoon. And perhaps a moment of foreshadowing?

Talky Talk: Will’s Wit

I continue to be enamoured of and entertained by William Ritter’s writing, which mixes action with wit and heart. Ritter’s characters have easily worked their way onto my all-time favorites list, and I find myself wishing I could join their motley crew.

From the very beginning, the Jackaby series has stood out to me as special and unique, and Ghostly Echoes is the best book so far. The story reveals some of the true workings behind the cases investigated in Jackaby and Beastly Bones (i.e., we’re getting closer to the Big Bad), and uncovers secrets that we didn’t know existed. Ritter is slowly peeling back the layers to reveal the overarching plot of the series, and I’m so here for it.

Bonus Factor: More Jenny

Little ghost sugar cookies

Jenny has floated (heh) through the other books in this series, occasionally popping into the plots and offering her unusual viewpoint to assist with a case. But Ghostly Echoes focuses more on her story, and finding out what led to her untimely demise was a delight. (Not the actual death part, of course, but reading about her growing in strength and finally getting some closure.)

Bonus Factor: Transgender Rights

Transgender flag

I wasn’t expecting to do a figurative fist pump for Jackaby’s (and Ritter’s) viewpoints on transgender rights while reading Ghostly Echoes—considering that the book takes place in the 1890s—but there’s a scene in the novel that made me do just that. It’s not essential to the larger plot, but it’s a truly wonderful moment all the same. To set the scene, Jackaby and Abigail stumble upon a woman being accosted by a group of men in an alley one night. They assist her (natch), but Abigail finds herself a bit confused as to the gender of the woman.

“Miss Lee was really a boy, wasn’t she? Underneath?”

He slowed and then came to a stop and looked me square in the eyes. “That’s up to her to decide, I suppose, but it’s not what I saw. Underneath, she was herself—as are we all. Lydia Lee is as much a lady as you or Jenny or anyone. I imagine the midwife or attending doctor probably had another opinion on the matter, but it only goes to show what doctors really know.”

“Shouldn’t a doctor be able to tell at least that much?”

Jackaby’s expression clouded darkly. “I have great respect for the medical profession, Miss Rook,” he said soberly, “but it is not for doctors to tell us who we are.”

Hell yes, R.F.

Relationship Status: ‘Till Death Do Us Part

I already gushed about how much I adore you, Book, but I’ll happily repeat myself: You have worked your way into my heart, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. I’m in this for the long haul, and can’t wait until we’re old and grey, sitting in the rocking chairs on our porch, reminiscing about the good old days.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Algonquin Books, but got neither a private dance party with Tom Hiddleston nor money in exchange for this review. Ghostly Echoes is available now.

Mandy (she/her) is a manager at a tech company who lives in Austin, TX, with her husband, son, and dogs. She loves superheroes and pretty much any show or movie with “Star” in the name.