Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Strong characters and story; plenty of fun
Cons: Kids being at the resort seems a little iffy
The Bottom Line:
Haunted ski resort
Ricky tries to find answers
Fast paced mystery
Okay, so I have many favorite mystery series, but the Accidental Detectives is definitely one of them. These books have some of the best mysteries I’ve ever read, feature strong characters, and are just plain fun to read. The fact that they are aimed at a middle grade audience doesn’t matter in the slightest. Terror on Kamikaze Run is a perfect example.
It all starts because of Miss Avery. She is one of the elderly people that Lisa Higgins’ aunt takes care of, but Miss Avery isn’t concerned for herself. She’s gotten a suspicious letter from her brother that has her convince that all is not right at the ski lodge he runs in Colorado. Since her health is failing, she wants to send Ricky Kidd, Lisa, Ralphy, Mike, and even Ricky’s younger brother Joel there to check it out and report back to her to ease her mind.
Ricky and his friends have hardly arrived when there is a fire in the building where they are staying. It’s just the latest in a series of accidents, all of which is foretold by the ghost of a long dead woman who appears the night before each accident. The Accidental Detectives try to poke around when they aren’t learning to ski, but what do the clues they turn up mean?
Reading this book this time, I did wonder about the parents sending these kids off to a resort where something strange is going on under the supervision of a man they didn’t know. But this is a middle grade mystery, and we need some way for the twelve-year-olds to solve the mystery. As a teen the first time I read this book, I certainly didn’t care, and this is worth noting only in passing.
The mystery itself is strong. We have clues that don’t seem to add up to anything until Ricky begins to put it all together in the end. I remembered the vague outline of the mystery in this one as I was reading it, so it was a pleasure to see how everything was laid out along the way.
The characters are good and are definitely stronger than the characters we get in many kid’s books. Each one has their own personality, and the adults are good adults, not the weak ones we often see in the genre.
Then there’s the humor. The book opens with a short story that introduces a few characters who will play a role in the book, and it starts things off with a laugh. There are other laughs along the way thanks to how Ricky and his friends tease each other. This is another example of their personalities being such fun.
This is a Christian novel, and it incorporates a Christian theme and world view into everything that happens along the way. Yet it does that without ever once preaching at us, something I truly appreciate.
The Accidental Detective series is a little harder to track down, but if you have kids in late elementary school, it is well worth the effort. Even if you are an adult mystery reader, you’ll appreciate the story told here. Strap in and enjoy the wild ride that is Terror on Kamikaze Run.
You'll find more fun with the rest of the Accidental Detectives mysteries.
This review is part of this week's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday.