Platypus Police Squad: The Ostrich Conspiracy

illus. by Jarrett J. Krosoczka. 240p. HarperCollins/Walden Pond. May 2014. pap. $12.99. ISBN 9780062071668; ebk. ISBN 9780062071675.
Gr 3–5—A pair of odd-couple detectives are out to crack the case in this second book in the series. The mayor of Kalamazoo City has just opened what he hopes to be his crowning achievement—the Kalamazoo Dome—a state of the art indoor/outdoor amusement park. But opening night is a complete disaster. Who's to blame? Is it the mayor? Suspicious business mogul Frank Pandini, Jr.? Or someone with an even higher profile? Detectives Corey O'Malley and Rick Zengo are determined to track down the culprit. The pacing is steady, with periods of dialogue broken up with bursts of action. Characters are mostly types, in keeping with the style of the genre. There are some fairly sophisticated concepts of back-room political maneuvering and the effects of an amusement park on local business sprinkled into the story that may go over some readers' heads. Black-and-white spot illustrations appear on nearly every other page, often highlighting action or dramatic moments. Give this to readers who like their detective stories with a light touch.—Travis Jonker, Wayland Union Schools, MI
Platypus detectives Zengo and O'Malley return for another crime-busting adventure. All of Kalamazoo City is excited about the new indoor/outdoor amusement park under the city dome, also the location for an upcoming blockbuster film. Things soon go haywire; who's trying to destroy the dome and why? Everyone is a suspect in this mystery overflowing with twists and detective-story tropes. Black-and-white cartoons punctuate the lightheartedness.

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