Friday, April 12, 2013

Book Review: Tyrant of the Badlands by Sigmund Brouwer (Accidental Detectives #4)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Twists to the plot, great characters, funny
Cons: None
The Bottom Line:
Middle grade story
Fun characters great story
Great for everyone

Ricky, Meet Rocky

Tyrant of the Badlands is the fourth book in the Accidental Detectives Mysteries series. This series of Christian mysteries features 12 year old Ricky Kidd. He's your average pre-teen with a couple exceptions. He's got a sharp mind and the misfortune to keep stumbling into mysteries. Of course, that misfortune is to our benefit because spending time with Ricky is a true joy. He is aided in his adventures by three friends, Ralphy Zee, Mike Andrews, and Lisa Higgins.

Ricky and his friends are planning a visit to his grandfather's in Alberta, Canada. But Ricky is surprised when his grandfather asks him to come a few days earlier then his friends. Upon arriving, Ricky learns why. His great aunt owns a mobile home park that's been attracting trouble recently. Two young men are harassing the residence, and there's a strange rumbling at night. The two adults are hoping that Ricky can go undercover as Rocky, juvenile delinquent, and gain some information to help the adults solve the problem. But Ricky starts to uncover a problem much bigger then some vandalism. Will he be able to figure out what's happening?

All the Accidental Detectives books move along at a brisk pace, and this one is no exception. I think the books are best when all four characters are involved, but here you don't really miss Lisa, Mike and Ralphy before they join the story. When I've read this book a couple times now. I thought I remembered what was going on when I reread it, but boy was I wrong. In fact, the ending caught me by surprise a second time.

Despite the fast pace of the story, the characters are vivid. True, they often seem to have one or two traits that we really get to know, but they seem like real people. And this goes for the adults as well.

Then there's the humor. All the books in the series are great at adding moments just to make us laugh. Sometimes, that's in a short adventure that has only a small tie in to the main mystery. And that's certainly the case here are Ricky, Ralphy, and Mike attempt to create a great film for America's Funniest Home Videos. The result, and the way this story within a story unfolds, is absolutely hilarious.

As I mentioned earlier, this is a Christian mystery. Yet Christianity never gets in the way of the story. The theme is incorporated without being preachy and leaves you with something serious to think about after the fun story is over.

This book is aimed at the 10-14 age market, and it is perfect for them. The writing is challenging enough without being too difficult. But you know what? Anyone who enjoys a good mystery will enjoy this book.

So if you or someone you know is looking for a great mystery, get Tyrant of the Badlands.

Once you start, you'll want to read the rest of the Accidental Detectives Mysteries in order.

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