Cover of Rook, featuring a large woman's face turned away from the viewer with green smoke rising up in front of it

About the Book

Title: Rook
Published: 2023

Cover Story: Montell Jordan
BFF Charm: Platinum
Talky Talk: Will’s Wit
Bonus Factors: Independence, Anti-TEABS
Anti-Bonus Factor: Secret Government Goons
Relationship Status: Risen From the Dead

Red alert! Rook is a new, standalone, book set in the Jackaby universe. While it’s not a direct sequel, it does directly mention events that happened in the series and so is minorly spoilery for the series on the whole. If you have not read the original series, man your battle stations turn away now, as there might be spoilers in this review. If you’re caught up, however, feel free to continue below.

Cover Story: Montell Jordan

I gasped when I first saw this cover, and my feelings of awe remain constant. It’s a truly stunning work of art—and a nice addition to the Jackaby ‘verse. 

Side note: I first thought this standalone book had a standalone cover, but then gasped yet again when I opened it and found the original four books with new covers showcased on the inner flap. I already have multiple copies of the Jackaby books, but I obviously need the new covers, too, to match with Rook.

The Deal: 

Life in New Fiddleham has returned to normal—or as normal as a place can be now that the supernatural is no longer a loosely kept secret—but Abigal Rook continues to struggle with her new powers. She never wanted to be a Seer, but the universe works in mysterious ways. For six months, she’s hidden herself away, trying to learn how to function when she can see the auras, the truths and feelings, of everyone and everything around her. 

When she decides to dip her toes back into the world of supernatural detecting, she tries to take it easy, starting with a simple jewelry heist. But nothing is ever simple in New Fiddleham, and investigating the “simple” jewelry heist ends up with Abigail floating in the deep end.

BFF Charm: Platinum

BFF platinum charm

Although it’s been six years since Abigail and I hung out, my feelings for her haven’t tarnished one bit. She’s a bit more fragile than I’ve come to expect, but being inundated with a vast amount of sensory input would make anyone a bit gun-shy. Under a new layer of self-preservatory armor, she’s still the same headstrong, dedicated, intelligent young woman I became Best Friends Forever with over the course of the original four Jackaby books.

Swoonworthy Scale: 3

Abigail and Charlie are still engaged, and still very much in love, but this book is more about Abigail regaining her footing after a massive life change, rather than spending time with her sweet beau. (I do hope that we get a short story, at the very least, about their wedding, though. I can only imagine the winding path Ritter would take them on the way to the altar.)

Talky Talk: Will’s Wit

I haven’t read anything by Ritter since closing The Dire King back in 2017, but his delightful writing has only improved since last we met. There’s an innocence to his writing that belies the sometimes grisly nature of the stories, but it never fails to make me laugh multiple times throughout his books. Rook was no exception.

“Did Marlowe happen to mention if there was any dismemberment involved? Bodily mutilation? No details? That’s fine—the surprise is part of the fun.”

“Fun? Mr. Jackaby—the woman is dead!”

“Obviously.” He lifted his head up from the bottom drawer of a cabinet. “I was, however, under the impression she was also awful. Awful first and then dead?”

“Yes. Sure, fine,” I said. “But awful or not, her death makes things complicated.”

*I did recently pick up his Bloody Fool For Love, though, and I’m looking forward to making time for it! #TeamSpike #YesIKnowHe’sSuperProblematic

Bonus Factor: Independence

Mei from Turning Red hugs her mom

Abigail came to New Fiddleham in search of a life she could call her own, out from under the thumb of her parents and their expectations that she “fit in” with their societal status. Was she running away? Sure. But Abigail’s never been one to go with the crowd. In Rook, she’s thrown for a loop when her parents arrive, looking to take her home. I was so proud when she stood up for herself and the life she’s made, regardless of how strange (or “improper”) it might seem. (And kudos to her parents for actually making efforts to meet her where she is.)

Bonus Factor: Anti-TEABS

Painting of a woman holding a book lying on a green couch. Called "Decadent young woman. After the dance" by Ramon Casas i Carbó

I never expected to be able to revisit the Jackaby ‘verse, but am very glad it lives on. (My hopes are now up for even more, Ritter. Don’t let me down!)

Anti-Bonus Factor: Secret Government Goons

The Smoking Man from X-Files sits in a chair, smoking

Abigail and Jackaby have long had their disagreements with members of the New Fiddleham police department, but they always found a respectful peace, especially when working together helped solve a crime. The arrival of Agents Garabrand and Kit from the Bureau of Curiosities puts a new wrinkle in their investigations.

Relationship Status: Risen From the Dead

I confessed my undying love to your predecessors, Book, and had long since come to terms with the fact that although our time together had been fleeting, our love would endure. Consider me shocked to have been able to spend more time with you. Our relationship feels a bit different now since we’ve both grown and changed, but I can see it getting back to the beautiful thing it was in no time.

Literary Matchmaking

Jackaby (Jackaby #1)

If you’ve read through this review before reading Ritter’s original Jackaby quadrilogy, you’re the kind of person who reads the last page first, aren’t you.

The Invisible Library (The Invisible Library #1)

Genevieve Cogman’s Invisible Library series is another paranormal historical fiction (sometimes mystery, always adventurous) series with a ballsy MC.

The Dark Days Club (Lady Helen #1)

Alison Goodmans’s Lady Helen series is another with a courageous MC and historical paranormal adventures.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Algonquin Young Readers, but got neither a private dance party with Tom Hiddleston nor money in exchange for this review. Rook 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.