THE PICKLE KING by Rebecca Promitzer


Age Range: 11 - 13
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The plot of this rain-soaked dark comedy doesn’t quite hold water, but Promitzer chucks in so many bizarre twists and revolting details that readers will likely forgive her. In getting to the bottom of several ugly secrets in their seemingly ordinary town, 11-year-old Bea and five other local children squabble and bond as they gather clues from a long-dead corpse, two ghosts, a stolen bag of human intestines, a serial-killer surgeon, a community of mentally disturbed outcasts, a mansion stocked with human parts and more. Punctuated by attacks from human punks and oversized rats, a race up a dark staircase against a tide of roaches and like rousing events, the young sleuths’ investigation ultimately winds up in an encounter with a centuries-old tycoon kept alive by a steady supply of replacement organs harvested from the town’s terrorized residents. Bea weathers it all with shaky but admirable fortitude—retaining enough aplomb in the end to keep her vanished father’s eyeball in the freezer as a memento. Must reading for fans of Jack Gantos’s Love Curse of the Rumbaughs (2006). (Detective fantasy. 11-13)

Pub Date: March 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-545-17087-1
Page count: 416pp
Publisher: Chicken House/Scholastic
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 2010


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