A crime story within a crime story

TITLE = KILLING RACHEL (The Murder Notebooks #2)

AUTHOR = ANNE CASSIDY

GENRE = MYSTERY, CRIME, FAMILY, FRIENDSHIP, ROMANCE

INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 9 -10

This is a clever crime story within a crime story. Rose and Josh are searching for their parents. For 3 years, Anne and her mum and Josh and his dad lived together like a family. Both parents also worked together in the police force but when they went missing one night (5 years ago) Rose was sent to live with her gran whilst Josh lived with his uncle. Reunited after 5 years, the pair are itching to find out about their parents’ disappearance. As no bodies have been found they live in hopes of finding them alive.

Whilst Josh is intent on following some new leads, Rose has a mystery of her own to solve. She has been receiving letters and phone calls from an ex-school friend, Rachel, begging for help but given how badly their friendship went, Rose was in no hurry to get involved. And now it is too late. Rachel has died under mysterious circumstances.

Can Rose solve the puzzle of Rachel’s death and has Josh really stumbled on new leads or is he reaching at straws?? And why hasn’t he been answering his calls?

This is a well plotted mystery story. Although it is the 2nd in a series of 4 books readers won’t need to have read book 1 to pick up the story line her – but they are sure to want to read the next 2 books in the series.

Recommended (dma) ***

A bit of magic, a bit of mystery and a bit of romance

TITLE = THE ZIGZAG EFFECT

AUTHOR = LILI WILKINSON

GENRE = MYSTERY, MAGIC, ROMANCE 

INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 8-10

Sage is new to Melbourne and pleased to find a job with a magician, as she hopes the funds will help pay for the photography course she has dreamed of completing. However, she does not bargain for falling into the middle of a mystery when the magician goes missing – nor does she expect to fall in love (maybe) with the aptly named, Herb (a magician-in-training who dreams of going solo one day). Add into the mix the beautiful but enigmatic Bianca (magician’s assistant) and a rival magician and the scene is sent for a wonderfully entertaining romp, in true ili Wilkinson style.

Fans of “A pocketful of Eyes” will love the Melbourne setting, the hint of a girl detective in the making and the heart-tugging beginnings of romance that are to be found between the covers of Lili Wilkinson’s latest book. And they will not be disappointed.  New fans are sure to be made as well – and readers are sure to be enlightened and engaged by the world og magic that they enter in this highly entertaining novel.

Recommended (dma) ****

A Prom Night that will change everything!!

TITLE = AU REVOIR, CRAZY EUROPEAN CHICK

AUTHOR =  JOE SHREIBER

GENRE = THRILLER, HUMOUR, ADVENTURE

INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 9 -12

This is a fabulous book: part thriller, part murder-mystery and part rite of passage. All built on a structure that it very, very funny and very, very clever. Perry is in his final year of high school so uppermost in his mind (or his parents’ minds at any rate) are college applications. It is therefore quite apt that each chapter in this book begins with a college application essay topic. The humour of the book partly lies in the contrast between what would be expected in an essay reply and the intriguing and unexpected responses that Perry provides as he tells his story. The fact that a series of essay responses can actually become a narrative structure at all is a testament to some clever plotting from author, Joe Shreiber.

Perry quickly learns that his foreign exchange student, Gobi, is not what she had seemed. And over the course of the story he also learns much about himself and his father, about integrity and love and honour. He re-evaluates his relationship with his family and reassesses himself. Yet all this is done as he and Gobi dash across New York involved in a vengeful killing spree (on Gobi’s part) and just trying to dodge a bullet (on Perry’s part). The whole mix is wonderfully entertaining and a fresh take on the teenage experience of growing up!!

Not to be missed (dma) *****

A new student booktrailer on a popular book

TITLE =SKULDUGERRY PLEASANT

AUTHOR = DEREK LANDY

GENRE =FANTASY, MYSTERY, ADVENTURE

INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 7 – 9

 

 

 

Highly Recommended by claire & lauren – check out their book trailer below:

Music (“Bandroid ” by Cracknation) sourced from the Animoto site as are the images. Text created by claire & lauren.

And if you like the sound of this book why not check out the booktrailer on Book 2 in the series here.

Action, mystery, crime and science … a great combo!

TITLE = VIRALS

AUTHOR = KATHY REICHS

GENRE = CRIME, MYSTERY, ADVENTURE

INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 8 AND UP

Tory Brennan is related to the famous forensic anthropologist and crime author, Tempe Brennan. In fact, she seems like a younger version of Tempe:  highly intelligent, outspoken and driven to solve mysteries, especially when they involve dead bodies. And like her aunt, she is a risk taker – willing to stand up to authorities and put her own life on the line.

So when Tory and her friends find an old dog tag in the forest, they are not afraid to break into the nearby labs where their parents work, to do a bit of research. And when this research leads to the discovery of a sick dog and a dead body, the teens are up for the challenge. Even if this means more breaking and entering, a bit of dognapping and some clever computer hacking. Even if they are occasionally shot at and chased by the police!

However, they don’t expect that a dog virus might cause unexpected changes in their bodies. And Tory doesn’t expect to have to fight for her own life.

Action packed from the very first page and with a strong and credible cast of characters – a must read for lovers of crime and adventure.

Highly Recommended (dma) *****

An eerie new Sherlock Holmes mystery

the house of silkTITLE = THE HOUSE OF SILK

AUTHOR = ANTHONY HOROWITZ

GENRE = MYSTERY, CRIME, DETECTIVE STORY

INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 10 AND UP

What a delight – that action adventure writer Anthony Horowitz should create a Sherlock Holmes’ novel in the vein of Conan Doyle!! And he does so with great style. With Sherlock Holmes dead, a rather lonely Dr Watson pens another story recalling one of their adventures together. More correctly, it is two stories rolled into one. What starts out as a rather scary tale about revenge turns into an even more sinister affair in which Holmes and Watson venture, quite literally, into the dark heart of London. In doing so, Holmes puts his life and reputation at risk. The two stories cleverly merge together in a satisfying and clever conclusion.

For young readers who are not acquainted with Doyle’s original stories, this is a great introduction. The London of Holmes’ time is cleverly and authentically recreated and the style and language gives a flavour of Doyle’s original tales. Holmes’ clever and distinctive detecting style is also credibly conveyed. Let’s hope this is just the first of many new Sherlock Holmes’ adventures from Anthony Horowitz.

Highly Recommended (dma) *****

An exciting historical mystery

9781741698138_UnderstudysRevenge_CV_V2.inddTITLE =THE UNDERSTUDY’S REVENGE

AUTHOR = SOPHIE MASSON

GENRE = MYSTERY, HISTORICAL FICTION

INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 9 AND UP

This is an exciting story that is part-adventure and part-mystery, with a feisty girl (Millie) as the main character. Although she would secretly like to be a novelist, Millie helps her father, who is the director of an acting ensemble which is about to perform “Hamlet”. She befriends the newest actor in the team, Oliver, before realising that maybe he is hiding a deep and deadly secret. Millie is fuelled in her suspicions by her friend, Seth, who also helps her in her detective work. As they try to unravel the link between Oliver and the play itself, readers will be kept on the ege of their seats trying to solve the mystery and hoping that Millie survives to discover the truth, too. Young teen readers will no doubt enjoy the historical setting of the book (nineteenth century London, with references to Ausralian golddigging days) and the way that loose threads are neatly tied up by the novel’s end. A touch of romance never hurts, either!

Recommended (dma) ****

A museum, a mystery and much, much more

a pocketful of eyesTITLE = A Pocketful of EYES

AUTHOR = Lili WILKINSON

GENRE = MYSTERY, ROMANCE

INTEREST LEVEL = YEAR 7 AND UP

Readers are sure to enjoy Lili Wilkinson’s latest novel, as it is part mystery, part trivia quiz and part romance …. and full of fun. Once again we have a spunky female lead: the delightful, mystery-loving (but rather bossy) Bee, who is working over the summer hols at the museum, in the taxidermy department. When her much admired Head of Department dies one night in the museum, Bee decides she must become Girl Detective Bee (and follow in the footsteps of her favourite childhood characters, Trixie Belden and the too-perfect, Nancy Drew). Bee is joined in her adventures by new sidekick, Toby – who proves to be every bit as baffling to Bee as the crime she is trying to solve.

As Bee and Toby try to resolve the central mystery, plenty of clues are unravelled (and the reader will learn more than they ever wanted to know about the mating habits of various critters, thanks to med-student Toby). Bee also realises that despite her awesome detectiving skills she also has much to learn – about Toby, about friendship and about life.

A wonderfully entertaining romp that will keep the reader guessing to the last page – and peopled with the most intriguing characters (especially Bee’s Mum and her new partner, the Celestial Badger).  Lovers of mystery novels (not just Nacy Drew but also adult classics, like Agatha Christie and Sherlock Holmes) will love the frequent literary references and the closing scenes of the book. There is a lot to enjoy in this mysery novel  … perhaps this is the beginning of a new Detective Girl series???  We can only hope so.

You can read more about the author and her other novels on her website.

Selected as a Notable book for the for CBCA Book of the Year 2012 (Older Readers)

 

Highly Recommended (dma) *****

A gripping story … unputdownable!!

THE DEAD I KNOWTITLE = THE DEAD I KNOW

AUTHOR = SCOT GARDNER

GENRE = MYSTERY, IDENTITY

INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 9 AND UP

Aaron is an unusual boy – he seldom speaks, he sometimes needs to be reminded about basic social niceties (like saying “please” and “thank you”) and he has just started working at a local funeral parlour. Home life for Aaron is equally odd: he lives in a caravan with Mam, who appears to be his mum but whose dementia means she is the one who needs mothering. To make matters worse, Aaron is a sleepwalker – often waking from his dreadful nightmares to find he has wandered far from home. So the reader is soon fascinated by Aaron and his daily struggles. We watch with sympathy as he tries to navigate the often painful task of dealing with the dead in his new job. But we also begin to wander about those snippets of nightmares that are gradually revealed: clearly Aaron has either seen something truly horrible or he has done something truly horrible… and the novel becomes a real page turner as we race to solve this mystery. A brilliant and moving book.

Highly Recommended (dma) *****

When death comes to call – 2

a girl like meTITLE =A Girl Like Me

AUTHOR = Penny Matthews

GENRE =Mystery, Historical Fiction

INTEREST LEVEL = Years 9, 10

Set in the 1800s, this is a delightful story that is part mystery and part history, as the murder at the centre of the story is based on an actual event. Emmie wants to be a writer and follow in the footsteps of her favourite author, Emily Bronte. But she has just been forced to leave school to help her mother run their household – a sign of the role that women held during those times. When young Bertha comes to work as a maid at their homestead her worldy-wise ways open Emmie’s eyes a little and they gradually become friends. So Emmie, along with the rest of their farming community, is shocked when young Bertha is murdered in her home – and even more appalled when they learn who the murderer was.

A beautifully presented novel too, which looks like a work from the 1800s – from the cover to the endpapers to the chapter headings. A most entertaining read.

Highly Recommended (dma) *****