Sunday, January 31, 2010

Mystery Book Review: In Too Deep by Jude Watson

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, is publishing a new review of In Too Deep by Jude Watson. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

In Too Deep by Jude Watson

by
The 39 Clues

Scholastic (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0-545-06046-X (054506046X)
ISBN-13: 978-0-545-06046-2 (9780545060462)
Publication Date: November 2009
List Price: $12.99

Review: Amy and Dan Cahill continue their quest for the 39 Clues to Australia, following the trail their parents took 10 years earlier, in In Too Deep, the sixth book in this series, this one written by Jude Watson.

Amy and Dan arrive in Sydney from Moscow, intent on locating an old family friend who may know more about why their parents visited Australia a decade earlier. The siblings had accompanied their parents, but were too young to remember much. Yet just seeing their "uncle" and visiting his home starts to bring back memories for Amy ... and not necessarily ones she wants to remember. Relentlessly pursued by other members of the family, the two increasingly find that danger seems to lurk around every corner -- and security is provided by an unexpected source.

It isn't strictly necessary to have read the previous books in this series to enjoy In Too Deep, but it would undoubtedly help. The first few pages provide sufficient background to allow first-time readers to get acquainted with Amy and Dan and why they're on a race around the world in search of clues that will make them the most powerful people in the world. It takes a little more effort to learn in which other family members are also in pursuit of this goal, and which of the four branches they belong (and why this is important).

A key phrase from this entry in the series is "trust no one". Amy is told this, and "for the first time, she truly understood what [it] meant. The stakes were so much higher than she'd thought. The lies cut so much deeper. Right to her heart." In Too Deep is a thrilling story, to be sure, but it is also a study in self-reflection and the choices one makes. Adult readers may appreciate this aspect of the story a bit more than younger readers, who will likely revel in the chase through Australia and on to Jakarta.

There are also references to famous historical figures who Amy and Dan discover are also Cahills, though admittedly distant relations. It's probably not giving away too much (given the book's cover) to reveal that Amelia Earhart -- also revealed to be a Cahill -- plays a key role in their search here, and it's a thrilling possibility that her time in Australia prior to setting off across the Pacific may have involved the Cahill family.

In Too Deep furthers Amy and Dan's adventure in a grand way. According to an endpaper, the next book in the series, The Viper's Nest, promises to reveal what family branch Amy and Dan are in.

Special thanks to Scholastic for providing a copy of In Too Deep for this review.

Review Copyright © 2010 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved

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If you are interested in purchasing In Too Deep from Amazon.com, please click the button to the right.

Synopsis (from the publisher): Fourteen-year-old Amy Cahill and her younger brother, Dan, head to the Land Down Under to discover what their own mother and father knew about the hunt for the 39 Clues. But following in their parents' footsteps brings up lost memories for Amy so awful that she can't share them ... even with Dan. Haunted by the ghosts of their past, chased by deadly competitors, Dan and Amy can't see who is an enemy and who is a friend. Their blindness leads to a terrible mistake ... and the death of a hidden ally.

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