The National Post – and more accurately, the whip-smart children’s book reviewer, Anna Fitzpatrick – reviewed the third Dead Kid Detetctive Agency book, Loyalist To A Fault, on October 13, but it only appeared online on the National Post site last week. It’s a really nice review, which is high praise because I really feel like Fitzpatrick knows what she’s talking about when it comes to writing for teens.
The full review follows, but you can also see it on the site here, where it’s paired with a review for Jairo Buitrango’s picture book, Two White Rabbits.
* * *
In 2012, artist Evan Munday published his first novel for children, The Dead Kid Detective Agency. In it, 13-year-old October Schwartz accidentally awakens the ghosts of five children buried at a local cemetery. Each dead kid came from a different era in time, dating back to the 18th century, and none of them could remember how they died. October agrees to help them find out the circumstances of their death in exchange for them helping her track down her estranged mother. It was an ambitious project for a debut novelist, but with every subsequent book released in the series Munday proves himself to be an increasingly sharper and tighter storyteller. The third and latest title, Loyalist to a Fault (ECW Press, 304 pp, $12, ages 8—14), is the strongest and tightest one yet. Like the preceding books, it combines a Canadian history lesson (this time going back to Canada’s earliest British settlers) with a gruesome murder mystery (the main suspect is a ghost pirate, dozens of pop culture references (Munday includes a glossary explaining these references at the end), and a cheeky sense of humour.