Menace from the Deep

Bk. 1. 240p. (Killer Species Series). Scholastic. 2013. pap. $5.99. ISBN 9780545506717; ebk. $5.99. ISBN 9780545580700.
Gr 4–7—After an atmospheric and ominous prologue in which a pair of genetically engineered "Pterogators" devour a python in the Florida Everglades, readers are introduced to disgruntled Emmet Doyle, a boy forced to move from Montana to the Sunshine State in the middle of seventh grade. His dad is an expert on raptors and his skills are needed by the National Parks Service to help them identify a possible new species of predator. The park ranger in charge of the investigation has a son, Calvin, who is Emmet's age and the two hit it off. Calvin's knowledge of the swampy environment and boats is impressive, and he helps Emmet transition into the new school. The only damper on the main character's adjustment to his new home is the instant dislike his science teacher seems to have for him. None of that is important once Emmet learns that his father has been kidnapped. The ransom? Only the closure of the entire Everglades to the public. There's something here for every reader-ecology, science, and gadgets galore, a realistic portrayal of boy friendship, and unrelenting suspense. This title is bound to please and fans will be hankering for the sequel.—Brenda Kahn, Tenakill Middle School, Closter, NJ

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