Wednesday 15 November 2017

Shadow of a Pug - Casey Lyall - Howard Wallace, P.I. Book 2

Shadow of a Pug
Howard Wallace, P.I. Book 2
Casey Lyall
Sterling Children's Books
ISBN 9781454919551

eISBN 9781454919964

I read this book immediately after reading book 1 in the series, Howard Wallace, P.I., I read both books over the span of three days. In fact I could hardly wait, I had bought the eBook of this volume before I had even finished book 1. I must admit I picked up a signed copy of book 1 at the launch. But being a physical book it sat on my bed site table for almost a year. Twice I picked it up, did not finish a chapter and put it down. But once I had the eBook I just could not stop. 

With my dual form of dyslexia I never read much as a child, it was only after grade 8 that I became an avid reader. And then in university I did two different children's lit courses. And through those fell in love with middle grade and young adult books. I have a few criteria for what makes a book great, first is did it have an impact on me, second is can I immediately think of people who would enjoy reading it, and third do I want to read it with my kids either now or when they are older. This book hits solidly on all three scales. 

Much like book 1 I believe that this book is well written. The text is tight. It is a great read for the middle grades or tweens. I have started reading this series with my oldest and already have plans to read it with my middle child early next year. In my review of book 1 I stated that:  "in many ways it reads like a young Spencer for Hire. Or like Mike Hammer in print. Reading this book took me back to my own days in school, but also when I was older and started watching detective TV shows with my father." And that statement is even truer with book two. I love he characters and their relationships. Casey does an amazing job of capturing interpersonal dynamics between the friends, and the former friends. She captures the change in relationships when people go through status changes, and move social groups at school. It also does an excellent job of capturing what can happen when we keep secrets from those we care about. And teaches a bit about learning to unlearn our preconceived notions and mend burnt bridges. 

In some ways this book and series is The Great Mistake Mysteries from Sylvia McNicoll. Both are set in smaller Canadian towns. Both involve children who are on the outside at school. Both involve mysteries and children trying to solve them. And to be honest both are great reads. But in the book Howards quirks were chosen and created by him as a way of coping, where Stephen Nobel's are more of an anxiety disorder issue.

Our cast in this volume really expands. We have the main two from book one, but also the whole basketball team, members of the drama and music clubs, the reporter from the school newspaper, and the captain of the opponents to the basketball team. And of course a missing mascot.

This was a book I could hardly put down. I read it while walking to the bus. I read it while on the bus to work, and I read it on my coffee breaks and lunch at work. It is a wonderful read that I look forward to sharing with my children and someday hopefully grandchildren. And to be honest I hope we see more of the Wallace and Mason Investigative team!

Books by Casey Lyall:
Inky's Great Escape: The Incredible (and Mostly True) Story of an Octopus Escape


Howard Wallace, P.I. Series:

Howard Wallace, P.I.
Shadow of a Pug

Sabotage Stage Left

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