Monday, July 28, 2014

Book Review: The Sasquatch Mystery by Kathryn Kenny (Trixie Belden #25)

Stars: 3 out of 5
Pros: Camping with Trixie and her friends
Cons: Uneven plot, Diana not in character
The Bottom Line:
Idaho camp trip
Unexpected visitor
Uneven entry

Meet the Cousins

Even though I grew up on the west coast, I had never heard of a Sasquatch before I read The Sasquatch Mystery, one of the entries in the Trixie Belden mystery series for kids.  Turns out, it is another name for Big Foot.  Now if you think that would make for a great mystery, you’re in for a disappointment.  This book isn’t bad, but it’s not what I had hoped it would be.

This book finds Trixie Belden and her brothers and friends camping in Idaho visiting some Belden cousins.  While we had previous met Hallie, this is our first time meeting her older brothers Knutson “Knut” and Capelton “Cap.”  Talk about some strange names!  The entire gang, although with Miss Trask as the chaperon, are camping deep in the forest.  Frankly, I love to camp, and this is one of only two times the gang comes close to my home state of California, so I wanted to love it just for that.

Anyway, their first night, there is an awful smell and sound, and Trixie’s cousins Knut and Cap are exchanging looks.  Early the next morning, Trixie wakes to find a Sasquatch outside their camp.  Is it really there?  And what about the rest of the strange things happening around camp?

The pace of the book is rather uneven.  The beginning feels a bit slow, then in the second half things pick up and suddenly we are racing toward the climax.  In fact, the second half is much more suspenseful for the series.  Even so, the clues are there, and it is easy to follow how we get to the solution.  One aspect of the wrap up is still very weak, but everything is resolved by the end.

This author does a fairly good job with the characters.  The series regulars could use more personality, but they aren’t the annoying versions that don't seem remotely related to the characters we know that sometimes pop up in the books.  Considering some of the stress they go through late in the book, they actually keep the fighting to a minimum, and I find the few flair ups to be believable and expertly handled.

The exception to this is Diana Lynch, one of Trixie’s friends who is along for the adventure.  She is one the various ghost writers often had a hard time getting right, and she is definitely not right here.  Now, she’s never one of the most adventurous characters in the series, but here she is so afraid of everything that it quickly gets annoying.  She’s got more of a backbone than that, at least when in the hands of a good writer.

So once again, this isn’t the best book for those new to the series to jump in and read.  Instead, I recommend you start at the beginning and work your way up to The Sasquatch Mystery.  By then, you’ll be a full fledged fan and want to read all the books no matter how uneven they are.  It’s sad this is one of the uneven ones.

And if you haven't met Trixie before, be sure to check out the rest of the Trixie Belden Mystery series.

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