March 16, 2014

Review: Knightley & Son

love this cover
It has been a while since I last blogged. A lot has happened, mostly of the shingles variety, so my time has been devoted to other areas, like napping. And itching. Let me not forget the non-stop itching.

But, I am happy to review this because this is a book that I think my own little man would enjoy.

Title: ‘Knightley & Son’
Author: Rohan Gavin
Pages: 320
Publisher: Bloomsbury Childrens
Available: NOW at your local library/book store
Source: Netgalley

Summary (from Goodreads):

The once highly in-demand detective Alan Knightley has just woken up after an unexplained incident kept him asleep for four years. While he was out cold, his son, Darkus, took it upon himself to read of all his dad's old cases, and he's learned a lot about the art of detection. It's a good thing too—because suddenly the duo find themselves caught up in a crazy conspiracy that involves a group of villainous masterminds (who keep appearing and then vanishing), some high-speed car chases (that will have everyone fastening their seat belts), and a national, bestselling book with the power to make people do terrible, terrible things. But because Alan is still suffering the effects of his coma, he tends to, well, fall asleep at the worst possible moments, Meaning that young Darkus might just have to solve this mystery . . . by himself.

My Thoughts:

When I am not reading tween and YA novels, I am reading mysteries. I love them. I always have, ever since I wanted to be Nancy Drew. I was excited to see that I found an adorable detective story aimed at children, and one that deals with a father-son team.

This novel had me from the start. From the moment Mr. Knightley awoke in his hospital room until the very end, I was hooked into the plot. It was like a young Indiana Jones and his dad hunting down the bad guys, just without the craziness that usually accompanies those films. Actually, I take that back. There is a touch of craziness happening in this book too.

Darkus is his father’s son. He keeps the faith that his father will wake up eventually. In the mean time, he is reading and memorizing his father’s journals. There must be a clue to help him uncover why his father is in an unexplained sleep, there just has to be. But then his father wakes up, sometimes steals the journals, and Darkus is back at square one. Or is he? This kid has a lot invested in helping his father, and now that the journals have been stolen, this piques Darkus’ curiosity and proves to him that indeed, there is something in those journals to lead him to the right conclusion.

Father and son reunite and head out to stop the bad guys. But, who are the bad guys, and why are there children committing unexplainable crimes? Can a simple book unlock this mystery, and how much help is Mr. Knightley when he cannot stay awake?

The development of Darkus’ character is spot on—this is his story, and the author lets us know that. He is the only character to truly receive page time, and he is the only character we see evolve. All of the adults in the novel are pretty stagnant, and at times I felt they got in the way of the plot, which is one reason I feel a lot of writer’s try to keep adult interaction on the page to a minimum.

With exception to Mr. Knightley. He seems to get his son—and he is off the page enough to give Darkus just the support he needs to solve the mystery without interfering in Darkus’ development.

While the plot itself was simple—and yet complicated enough to keep readers guessing—the execution of it was a little slow-going. It’s the only complaint I have. I felt like the pace could have been faster, especially since this is aimed at younger readers.

Do I recommend this book?

For readers of mysteries, absolutely. I don’t think this is a good novel for the novice mystery reader because the plot is a little slower than most mysteries. I think readers of the Geronimo Stilton series will especially enjoy this novel. They have the same feel to them.

My little man loves reading and watching Geronimo Stilton, and when I brought up this novel and its plot, he said, “That sounds like a cool book mommy.” I think he secretly wants to be a detective himself. He loves watching ‘Jesse Stone,’ ‘Murder She Wrote,’ and ‘Matlock.’

Kids like these are the ones I think will really embrace Darkus and his dad into their reading lives.

Have you read a great tween/YA/adult mystery lately? Comment below and leave me suggestions. I am always looking for new mystery series.
Happy Reading!

-      The Hodgenator

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