Enough unresolved questions remain for a sequel to this fun, silly spy adventure.

KAT WOLFE INVESTIGATES

From the Wolfe and Lamb Mysteries series , Vol. 1

An animal lover discovers threats, disappearances, and international espionage after moving from London to the Dorset coast.

Twelve-year-old Kat Wolfe, a white girl, doesn’t mind moving to a little seaside village for her mum’s new job. She hasn’t reckoned on finding intrigue, but as soon as she starts up a petsitting agency, she’s drawn into a worrying mystery. Ramon, a friendly Paraguayan ornithologist, asks Kat to watch Bailey, the multilingual parrot, while he’s out of the country. Kat’s in awe of Ramon’s house, a “futuristic fortress” chock-full of high-tech gadgets, until she discovers evidence of foul play. The village policeman, Sgt. Singh, thinks Kat’s talking nonsense. If it weren’t for her new friends (elderly Edith Chalmers and her golden retriever, 13-year-old, biracial Cuban-American Harper Lamb and her racehorse), she’d be stuck. Retired librarian Edith and hacker Harper uncover evidence of a Cold War mystery. There are false identities, secret codes, sleeper agents, the CIA, MI5, and a dangerous horse ride over storm-lashed moors. “You’ll never get away with this,” Kat tells the villain, and she’s right, of course. Their little Dorset village is realistically diverse despite some awkwardness (Kat practices a fake Chinese martial art called “the Way of the Mongoose”), and the crystal-clear girls-do-computers message is welcome.

Enough unresolved questions remain for a sequel to this fun, silly spy adventure. (Thriller. 9-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 9, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-374-30958-9

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

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Written in workhorse prose, it’s an amiable enough read.

ALI CROSS

From the Ali Cross series , Vol. 1

The prolific king of the beach read is back with an intergenerational mystery for the 9-to-12-year-old set.

Ali Cross, the son of Patterson’s most famous creation, African American homicide detective Alex Cross, is “starting to think the worst might have happened” to his mixed-race friend Gabriel “Gabe” Qualls, who disappeared on Dec. 21 and hasn’t been heard from as of Christmas Eve, when the book opens. Ali offers an impromptu prayer for Gabe at the pre-holiday service at his all-black church as well as an impromptu press conference outside of it as journalists and paparazzi confront Alex about his alleged coma-inducing assault of a murder suspect’s father. Then someone robs the Crosses’ home that night along with four other homes; the Crosses’ Christmas gifts are stolen. Ali, obsessed with finding Gabe and feeling that these events will distract his dad and the police from searching for him, starts his own investigation—complete with looking at some contraband footage of Gabe’s unusually loaded backpack obtained by Ali’s stepmother, also a cop—and questioning his school and gaming pals, a diverse group. Writing in Ali’s voice with occasional cutaways to third-person chapters that follow Alex, Patterson sprinkles the narrative with pop-culture references even as he takes readers through the detective process.

Written in workhorse prose, it’s an amiable enough read. (Mystery. 9-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 25, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-316-53041-5

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Jimmy Patterson/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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A-mew-sing fare for readers who sometimes feel like fraidycats themselves.

SCAREDY CAT

Two shelter cats take on a mysterious puss with weird powers who is terrorizing the feline community.

Hardly have timorous (and aptly named) Poop and her sophisticated buddy, Pasha, been brought home by their new “human beans” for a two-week trial than they are accosted by fiery-eyed Scaredy Cat, utterly trashing the kitchen with a click of his claws and, hissing that he’s in charge of the neighborhood, threatening that if they don’t act like proper cats—disdaining ordinary cat food and any summons (they are not dogs, after all), clawing the furniture instead of the scratching post, and showing like “cattitude”—it’ll be back to the shelter for them. Will Poop and Pasha prove to be fraidycats or flee to the cowed clowder of homeless cats hiding from the bully in the nearby woods? Nope, they are made of sterner stuff and resolutely set out to enlist feline allies in a “quest for life, liberty, and the pursuit of purrs!” Cast into a gazillion very short chapters related by furry narrators Poop and Pasha, who are helpfully depicted in portrait vignettes by Herzog at each chapter’s head, the ensuing adventures test the defiant kitties’ courage (and, in some cases, attention spans) on the way to a spooky but poignant climax set, appropriately enough as it happens, in a pet graveyard.

A-mew-sing fare for readers who sometimes feel like fraidycats themselves. (Adventure. 9-11)

Pub Date: March 15, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-316-49443-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Jimmy Patterson/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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