Friday 7 February 2020

ReadItDaddy's Chapter Book of the Week - Week Ending 7th February 2020: "Sticky Pines: The BigWoof Conspiracy" by Dashe Roberts (Nosy Crow)

Sometimes a new book hits our review pile from a talented debut author, and you imagine what it must have been like to be the commissioning editor seeing that book in its raw form for the first time, and feeling that same frisson of excitement that you, the reader, now feel.

So it was with our Chapter Book of the Week this week, the utterly brilliant "The BigWoof Conspiracy" by Dashe Roberts, (hopefully) book 1 in an exciting new series that delves into the paranormal, setting out an enticing storyworld that just ticks all the right boxes for us.

We're huge fans of cult TV, strange phenomenon, mysterious creatures and conspiracy theories so you can imagine how fabulous this book was for us.

The story begins in a distinctly weird place, the town of Sticky Pines which is probably twinned with Eerie, Indiana - or any number of fictional towns where weird goings on are the norm.

Lucy Sladan is completely obsessed with UFOs and weird creatures and spends her time poring over dusty old tomes of abduction accounts, and weird old books about bizarre phenomenon (sounds a LOT like me aged 10 and also a lot like C who is really into all this stuff too).

In the midst of a thunderstorm and on the trail of a spate of strange disappearances in her home town of Sticky Pines, Lucy encounters a huge hairy creature stalking through the woods.

Terrified, she later also meets a new ally - Milo Fisher, also obsessed with all things paranormal but the holder of a deep dark secret - perhaps Milo knows more about the disappearances - and the creature - than he's letting on.

As the mystery begins to unfold, you can absolutely tell Dashe had a ball writing this, dipping into all the tropes and stories that offer the rich fertile ground on which this book is built. It's filled with action, suspense and a few moments where you pause for breath - only to realise you've been holding your breath for the last five minutes and are beginning to turn blue!

It's glorious, utterly glorious and comes with our highest recommendation. Just stop what you're doing, whether you're hunting sasquatches or trying to take photos of ghosts, and get down to your local bookshop for a copy of this. It's just so darned good!

Sum this book up in a sentence: The X-Files meets Eerie Indiana Meets John A.Keel in the body of a mighty young girl who delves into the deeply mysterious occurences in her very odd home town, making this a middle grade series destined for greatness!

"The BigWoof Conspiracy" by Dashe Roberts is out now, published by Nosy Crow (kindly supplied for review).