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SOMETHING ROTTEN by Alan Gratz

SOMETHING ROTTEN

A Horatio Wilkes Mystery

By Alan Gratz

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-8037-3216-2
Publisher: Dial

Gratz is cornering the niche market of novels containing dissimilar topics. Here he combines Hamlet and hardboiled detective pulp. During a vacation from their academy, Horatio Wilkes accompanies his buddy Hamilton Prince to Denmark, Tenn. Just two months after his father passed away under suspicious circumstances, Hamilton’s Uncle Claude has married Hamilton’s mother. Claude now controls the Elsinore Paper Plant, a multibillion dollar company blatantly polluting the Copenhagen River. Horatio, with a knack for investigating, is determined to expose Claude’s corruption while Hamilton, dismayed by what he believes is his mother’s betrayal, drowns himself in alcohol. Ultimately, Horatio relies on environmentalist protester Olivia to reveal secrets about Elsinore. The many parallels to Hamlet are interesting, but Gratz wisely avoids producing a carbon copy of the tragedy. Horatio admirably plays the loyal friend but has a cocky voice that is too self-assured and as a teen rings unauthentic. However, this well-crafted mystery has appeal for readers familiar with both Raymond Chandler’s novels and Shakespeare’s masterpiece. (Fiction. YA)