Sunday, 10 February 2013

Review: Behind The Curtain by Peter Abrahams

Behind The Curtain - Peter Abrahams (Echo Falls #2)
UK ISBN - 9781406300291
Publisher - Walker Books February 5 2007

'In Echo Falls you never know what's coming next - and everyone has a secret. Things are amiss at 99 Maple Lane: Ingrid's dad's job is in jeopardy, but he won't explain why. Ingrid's brother, Ty, is getting buff -- really buff -- but when Ty starts getting moody, Ingrid wonders if there's more to his physical fitness than lifting weights. Meanwhile, Ingrid's beloved soccer coach is replaced by an icy newcomer named Julia LeCaine, who seems a little too savvy to be in it for the postgame pizza. True to her hero, Sherlock Holmes, Ingrid begins fishing around to find out who's really pulling the strings in Echo Falls. But one morning, while en route to the dreaded MathFest, Ingrid is kidnapped and locked in the trunk of a car. Even if she escapes, will anyone believe her story?

In this sequel to Down the Rabbit Hole a clever young girl learns that mysterious forces are at work in her town -- and exposing them could put her life in jeopardy.'
- Goodreads

I picked up #1 in the Echo Falls series, Down The Rabbit Hole at the end of last year for two reasons - it had an endorsement by Stephen King and it had a great title! I read the whole thing in a couple of days and loved it so much I promptly ordered books #2 & 3 from the library and whilst I enjoyed Rabbit Hole, Behind The Curtain didn't quite hold my attention in the same way.

Thirteen year old Ingrid Levin-Hill is a Sherlock Holmes fan with a dog called Nigel and a perfectly average family - mum, dad and older brother Ty (the prodigy football star). Doing her best to follow in Holmes' footsteps Ingrid likes to solve mysteries with big clues from the newspaper editor and police help from her friend Joey's father, Chief Strade. Her parents are never around to notice what she's doing or that she has a habit of sneaking out in the middle of the night. In Behind The Curtain her beloved Grampy is in trouble, her brother is mysteriously becoming an even better football player & weight lifter and there's a newcomer in town who is her new soccer coach & her dad's new business associate. Obviously, in amongst all this is a mystery to be solved and Ingrid is the best girl for the job!

Discovering a bottle marked 'steroids' and 'Mexico' in her childhood treehouse leads Ingrid to her best friends thuggish older brother and her Grampy has been sent threatening letters from the town council about taxes, two separate mysteries but both about to be solved by Ingrid. Like the first book where she's appearing in Alice In Wonderland, Ingrid is taking part in The Wizard Of Oz (hence the brilliant title) and aside from being forced into taking part in the dreaded MathFest she starts to put all the little clues she's gathered to solve everything, just like Holmes. Along the way she's kidnapped by an unknown driver, hides out in hospital supply cupboards and school janitors offices but is never caught until Chief Strade catches her imitating what happened when she escaped from the kidnapper & is forced to see a psychiatrist by her parents as a result.

Although I loved this as much as book #1 it all felt a little obvious to me, I knew what was coming & guessed who the 'bad guys' were. It just all seemed a little too easy. Peter Abrahams is an amazing writer and I'm looking forward to book #3 Into The Dark but sometimes - for an adult especially - there's not much mystery when there's a huge hint on every other page! For younger readers there were also a couple of incidents with swear words, not a four letter one beginning with F but still swear words. It was a quick fast read, it took me a couple of hours and I'm definitely going to start the next one soon!


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