SKULLDUGGERY

THE BLOODWATER MYSTERIES

After their successful sleuthing in Snatched (2006), Brian Bain and Roni Delicata are ready to solve more mysteries in their little town of Bloodwater. Fred Bloodwater, a real-estate developer, is planning on building condominiums on Indian Bluff, but Brian and Roni believe a local professor’s assertion that there are important Native American remains in caves on the bluff. When the professor is beaten and left unconscious, the intrepid detectives are on the case. Who was responsible for the assault? The professor’s ex-fiancée? Fred Bloodwater’s cute (but stupid) teenage son? A skunk-cabbage-obsessed botanist? Moreover, Brian is sure he has seen the Native American remains, in the form of a now-missing skull the professor called “Yorick.” This occasionally uneasy merger of realism and a more over-the-top Scooby Doo/Indiana Jones–style adventure can be jarring. Nevertheless, the adventures of these meddlesome junior sleuths, with the mystery’s tension cut by gentle humor, are quite entertaining. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: May 10, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-399-24378-3

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Sleuth/Putnam

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2007

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SOMETHING WICKEDLY WEIRD

THE WOODEN MILE

A prolific British illustrator makes a rare foray across the pond with this faintly Gothic series opener. Eleven-year-old Stanley is amazed to learn that he’s inherited an old mansion in Crampton Rock—a distant seaside town whose residents turn out to include a candy-store owner who changes into a werewolf every night, a trio of menacing (if ineffectual pirates) and a supposedly dead pike that utters cryptic warnings. Fortunately, Stanley is a clever, doughty lad, well capable of blasting the werewolf with a silver bullet, tricking the pirates into barrels and weathering other challenges with just occasional help from adult allies. Mould adds plenty of comically ghoulish ink drawings and silhouettes to his fluently written tale, and sets up a continuing plotline that leads to encounters with a decapitated ghost and more pirates in the next episode, The Icy Hand (ISBN: 978-159643-385-4, also September). Fine fare for fans of the likes of Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell’s Far-Flung Adventures series or Philip Ardagh’s Eddie Dickens trilogy. (Fantasy. 9-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-1-59643-383-0

Page Count: 188

Publisher: Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2008

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LIZA'S STAR WISH

After a year of the grief and turmoil following her sister Holly's drowning, Liza, 14, doesn't want to leave San Antonio to spend the summer in Rockport, Texas, with her cranky, self- centered, bigoted grandmother, Mama Lacey, who has broken her hip. Liza's whole family is still grieving; her mother reads lots of self-help books and tries to pull things together with organized discussions. Liza is angry at everyone, and not always reasonably: Among her targets are her best friend, Chloe, for moving to Houston, and Holly, for dying. Once Liza is in Rockport, sending E- mails to her sweetly individualistic boyfriend makes home seem closer. When Chloe visits, Liza is surprised to find out that best friends can do a lot of growing apart in different cities, and recognizes a side of Chloe that is disquieting. As a reaction to Chloe's rigid perception of honesty, Liza begins to navigate her own path of tolerance and understanding. With skill, Stevens (Liza's Blue Moon, 1995) depicts the complicated nuances of emotions and behavior within a family—the hopes, disappointments, misplaced but well-intentioned efforts, and small acts of courage that hit home. As a result, Liza and her family are very real, while Chloe, a necessary foil, is only slightly less believable. A thoughtful novel, written with great feeling. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-688-15310-0

Page Count: 166

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1997

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