Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Laura Marlin Mysteries 2: Kidnap in the Caribbean by Lauren St John


Laura cannot contain her excitement when she wins a trip to the Caribbean for herself and her uncle, Calvin Redfern, especially when her best friend, Tariq, and her three-legged husky, Skye, accidentally find themselves on board too. But when they dock at Antigua, they discover that Calvin Redfern has vanished, and Laura and Tariq are about to be kidnapped by the fearsome Straight A gang. Dramatic escapes, an erupting volcano and a race against time to stop the deadly undercover 'Marine Concern' make Laura's second adventure every bit as exciting as the first.

From Cornwall to the Caribbean, 11-year-old ace detective Laura Marlin comes face to face with pirates, sharks, criminal masterminds and an erupting volcano in her second mystery adventure, which follows the Blue Peter award-winning first book DEAD MAN'S COVE.

I loved Dead Man's Cove and was really looking forward to reading the follow-up. Before I get into the review proper I just want to talk about how lovely this book looks. It's hardback with a beautifully illustrated dust cover and pictures throughout. It looks like a little gem before you even open it. Don't get me wrong, I love my Kindle for the ease of reading massive tomes whilst on the go but there's something about books like this that means, I hope, they will never be replaced.

The book opens with Laura content in St Ives except for the dreary weather. However, when she wins a holiday to the Caribbean she can't wait to get on board and head for the sun. The wonderful Tariq and Skye also find themselves stranded on the boat but even before they have left port suspicious things start to happen. Laura's Uncle Calvin is bedridden after a mysterious fall and then disappears leaving Laura and Tariq to cope alone. But once they reach Antigua things get worse and worse.

I found Dead Man's Cove reminiscent of Enid Blyton but in a better written, more exciting kind of way and still get this feel from the Laura Marlin series. Laura is self-reliant after her unfortunate start in an orphanage and drives the plot along with her determination to be as good a detective as Matt Walker - star of her favourite books. If she finds herself in a situation which seems impossible she tries to think of what Matt or her uncle would do. Tariq is her steady and calm friend who's just so loyal and sweet - however, he's no pushover and not to be underestimated. A new character, Jimmy, goads Laura and Tariq and is initially obnoxious. But his parents are so awful and pushy that I soon felt sorry for him. Laura and Tariq take time to get to know him and, happily, he's an integral part of the book.

A really enjoyable book, Kidnap in the Caribbean is a great for confident younger readers but probably too young for those aged 11- 14. It has just the right amount of action, friendship and danger to make it a compelling and exciting.


serendipity_viv said...

Squee! I am so looking forward to reading this. The book sounds utterly brilliant and is adorable to look at.

Linda said...

I thoroughly agree, it is an excellent book. Not sure that it's too young for 11-14, though, especially as a pleasant summer read. Don't want anything too brain-twisting when you're on the beach!