Gavin, Rohan. K-9 (Knightley and Son #2)
February 17th 2015 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
E ARC from Netgalley.com
Now that Darkus' father Alan is back and conscious most of the time (after their adventures in book one), they are ready to take on another case. Bill and other members of Scotland Yard's department of the unusual have been attacked around London, seemingly by werewolves! Alan is convinced that they are out in force on Hampstead Heath, but when Darkus investigates, he finds something even more gruesome and disturbing. Tilly is also onto something, infiltrating Barabas King's group of young hoodlums who are working with trained Rottweilers. Add to this Fiona, a "dog whisperer" who thinks her house (near the Heath) has been attacked and to whom Bill is mightily attracted; Wilbur, a police dog that Alan has given to Darkus but who has run afoul of Darkus' stepfather Clive; and Alexis, a student at the school who fancies herself an investigative reporter, and you have lots of goings on in the dark of night around the heath! Even Clive and some teachers from the school get involved in investigating. While the crimes are serious, they don't involve werewolves, and before too long, Darkus is able to figure things out, although at a high personal cost.
Strengths: Very British, comic crime type novel that is a perfect read for students who adore Stroud's Lockwood and Company. There are some good, funny twists, and just enough action to keep sophisticated readers turning the pages.
Weaknesses: A bit long for middle grade, and slow in parts. There were also a couple of scenes that were very gruesome, and the ending was sad.
What I really think: This was gorgeously written and very atmospheric in the very best British tradition of mysteries, and I enjoyed it very much myself. I am a little less confident that it will circulate well, but will probably buy it because it will hold up for a long time for select readers.