Posted by Myckyee at 6:00 AM
I don’t review a lot of middle grade books but if something looks particularly good and is in a genre that I would normally enjoy in adult literature then I am drawn to it. Fiendish Deeds by P. J. Bracegirdle, the first book in the The Joy of Spooking trilogy, (the others are Unearthly Asylum and Sinister Scenes) could easily pass as a younger version of the type of novel I really like.
First there’s a strong female character. She’s plucky, resilient and smart. Check, check and check. She’s not perfect. Check. She’s a bit quirky. Excellent! This means she’s not the same as every other pre-teen protagonist populating the books coveted by young readers. In fact, I was surprised to find out that the author is male since he has written the female character, Joy Wells, with great perception into the mind set of a twelve-year-old girl that is completely convincing.
Another plus for Fiendish Deeds is the story. It’s full of adventure and great action. It’s got the page-turning factor in spades. And even though this is middle grade, it’s still got over 200 pages – so the story has a chance to play out well. It’s got depth.
So, this novel for young readers has everything going for it. But for adults, there’s more. What kept me thoroughly entertained is the humour. Fiendish Deeds is imaginatively funny! It’s got whimsy (a confused bullfrog who thinks it’s a bulldog and so runs around in circles and barks), plenty of allusions to Edgar Allen Poe and the sort of quirkiness that I love to come across unexpectedly when reading.
I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the author of this great new series lives in my home town. Fans new and old are invited to a launch party for the final book in the Spooking trilogy, Sinister Scenes, on Saturday, September 17th from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. at Shaika Café, 5526 Sherbrooke Street West in Montreal, QC. Copies of all three books in the series will be available at the party. To find out more about the Joy of Spooking trilogy head on over to P. J. Bracegirdle’s website or facebook page.