The Odds of Getting Even

368p. Penguin/Kathy Dawson Bks. Oct. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780803739611.
Gr 4–6—The third title in the series of clever and funny mysteries set in tiny Tupelo Landing with spunky sixth grader, Mo LoBeau. This tale opens with Mo and her best friends Dale and Harm ready to testify against Dale's felonious father, Macon Johnson, for his part in kidnapping the Colonel and Miss Lana in The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing (Penguin, 2014). However, as Mo says, things go sideways, and Macon makes a break for it. There are plenty of high jinks, including a veritable crime spree, with all evidence pointing to Macon, despite Dale's firm belief in his father's innocence in these particular crimes. Turnage's characters continue to grow as they cope with the trials of sixth grade, criminal mischief, and the sometimes opposing loyalties of family and friendship. Themes of fatherhood and retribution wind through the tale, adding an element of gravitas. The writing plays with language, delighting readers with Mo's similes and Dale's malapropisms (which Mo helpfully interprets). The mystery is well crafted and fast paced; readers will gallop through the nonstop action to a satisfying conclusion.
VERDICT A must-read for fans of the first two volumes, and a rewarding adventure all on its own.

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