Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A book review from Mr. Costello!

Running with the Reservoir Pups by Colin Bateman

Reviewed by Tim Costello

Scamming youth gangs, the kidnapping of babies, a protagonist who’s experiencing a terrible string of bad luck – with these overarching themes, Running with the Reservoir Pups is not your feel good, they all live happily ever after type of tale – which is exactly what makes it so appealing.

Irish novelist Colin Bateman’s first foray for middle readers, Running with the Reservoir Pups tells the story of Eddie Malone, who, as we learn in the book’s opening pages, finds himself in a new place with no friends after his mother informs him that his dad has left.

Living the nurse’s quarters of Belfast’s Royal Victoria Hospital, Eddie has plenty of time to snoop around, and his snooping quickly gets him in trouble with both Bernard Scuttles, the head of hospital security and the rough and tumble gang, The Reservoir Pups.

Eddie's situation goes from bad to worse when his mother starts dating Scuttles. He believes Scuttles is behind a plot to kidnap Alison Beech, one of the richest and most revered women in the world. Beech is visiting the hospital to give a very generous donation, but it turns out that the problem is instead the kidnapping of babies. Eddie is the only witness, and apparently the only one who can save the babies.

Set primarily in Belfast, the book is full of fascinating and humorous colloquialisms and expressions, and is written with a crispness and efficiency that will delight adolescent readers.

The audience is definitely middle school and higher, although adults can get just as pleasure from this lively and witty tale. Vista Academy students will be drawn to the witty storytelling and non-stop action of this whirlwind adventure. Enjoy the ride.

I would highly recommend this book, and I think you’ll be eagerly anticipating Colin Bateman’s next installment in this compelling series, Bring Me the Head of Oliver Plunkett. He is also the author of 13 novels for adults.

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