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BOOK REVIEW: Rory Branagan, Detective by Andrew Clover and Ralph Lazar

| 10 August 2018 | Reply

BOOK REVIEW: Rory Branagan, Detective by Andrew Clover and Ralph Lazar

HarperCollins
March 2018
Paperback, $14.99
Reviewed by Steph O’Connell

Middle Grade / Mystery

3/10

‘I’d like to know,’ I tell her, ‘WHERE my dad went. He disappeared when I was three. And I’d just like someone to tell me WHY.’
She comes so close I can see the speckles in her eyes and smell the lolly on her breath.
‘You know what you should do,’ she whispers.
‘What?’ I say.
‘You should become a detective,’ she says, ‘and you should FIND OUT, and I, my friend, will be your Accomplice.’

Meet RORY BRANAGAN – he eats bad guys for breakfast. Well, not ACTUALLY. But he IS the best detective in town. First in a hilarious seven-book, comedy-crime series for readers of 8+

Hello. I am Rory Branagan. I am actually a detective.
People always say, ‘How do you become a detective?’
And I say, ‘Ahhhh… you don’t just FIND YOURSELF suddenly sneaking up on baddies, or diving out of the way as they shoot, or hurtling from an open plane towards the ground! You have to want it.’
And what made ME want it? I needed to find out what
happened to my dad…

 

The publisher and author information suggest this is a book for readers aged 8+, and one can definitely see why the subject matter would not be suitable for readers younger than that, what with a neighbour being poisoned, a mother bordering on abusive, and a father who seems to be in the mob. But the writing itself is too young for this age group, and is more likely to appeal to a reader aged 6+, with the amount of cringey pandering it does.

Some of the things written in this book are just downright bizarre.

It’s obvious I’m annoying him, but I am already thinking this is something that might make me special as a detective:
I don’t mind being annoying. I have a brother; I spend my days being annoying.
And as the man tries to go I think: You can turn away and head off into the darkness like a big fish. But I will follow you, like the little pipe of poo that is always trailing behind the fish’s bottom.

And there are messages here that seem to go against what parents and teachers might be trying to teach kids about how we should treat one another.

Corner Boy sees me coming to help, and something comes over him.
He punches me and I go down.
‘Corner Boy!’ I say. ‘Why did you DO THAT?’
‘I’m sorry!’ he says. ‘I have a medical condition that means I hit people!’
And I don’t believe there’s a medical condition that means you hit people.
But I don’t say that. I get to my feet.

On the plus side, it’s illustrated, and in a similar silly style to the Treehouse, WeirDo, and Epic Fail Tale books.

This might be a good title for older readers with a lower reading ability, due to the mish-mash of age-appropriateness, but the obvious pandering would likely annoy these readers, and this is not how the book has been marketed.

If you’re looking for a silly book about investigating aimed at readers 8+, I’d much more readily recommend Greta Zargo and the Death Robots from Outer Space.

Stephanie O’Connell

Category: Book Reviews, Other Reviews

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