Saturday, October 8, 2011

Cold CaseCold Case by Julia Platt Leonard

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I love a good murder mystery, so when I was offered this one for review (THANK YOU) I of course said sure.

Things I Liked:

1)The relationships around Oz (the main character)--he and his brother Dave, he and his best friend Rusty, he and fellow restaurant employee Razor. They all rang true in terms of how they communicated and got along.

2)The history of Los Alamos and descriptions of Santa Fe.

3)The descriptions of how a kitchen runs. Not that I cook but still ... it made sense and seemed like it really was a young teen explaining it all.

4)Totally doable for a middle grade murder mystery. Enough detail that the kids will be intrigued but not so much that we have to worry about freaking them out. Who knows which houses allow CSI and which don't.

Things I Think Will Get Even Better with More Middle Grade Mystery Novels:

1)I don't think (wouldn't know for sure, would I?) bad guys explain everything. Mentally going through in my head ... and I just really don't think they do. Will consider more specific examples but the way the final ending plays out was just a little bit contrived.

2)The mother is pretty absent and I'm not sure why. Doesn't have to be that way ... even to get Oz over to Rusty's house more often.

3)Perhaps narrowing down the suspect pool just a bit. There are a couple characters in the story who's only real job seems to be red herring. A little misdirection is fun. Too much and it starts to wear on the credibility of the story.

All in all ... a solid entry. If I could give three point five or three point seven five even I would. Will definitely watch for more from this author. Not a huge fan of the cover (running seemed to be more important to him) but I can see the vibe they were going for. With booktalking I can think of at least a couple fifth graders who will enjoy this one, and definitely sixth or seventh graders. Another reviewer here on Goodreads mentioned they enjoyed this one more than Theodore Boone, Kid Lawyer and I would agree. Was thinking the same thing before I even saw that comment.

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