Dead Man’s Cove by Lauren St John
I bought this book for my son Calum, for his 8th birthday after a recommendation from a trusted friend and it didn’t disappoint. Winner of the 2011 Blue Peter Book of the Year Award, Dead Man’s Cove is the first book in a gripping adventure series about eleven-year-old ace detective, Laura Marlin.
The story centres around an orphaned girl, Laura, who moves from a children’s home to live with her uncle in a spooky house in Cornwall. Forbidden by her uncle, Calvin Redfern, to go to Dead Man’s Cove she is determined to find out why. Mysterious characters, messages in bottles and secret pasts, this book is perfect for any middle grade reader who loves adventure and detective stories.
This book is a modern day famous five, centred around one spunky young girl (which I am all for) and her fabulous trusty companion, Skye, a three-legged husky dog. Even the premise is enticing! I loved the fact Laura was described as a girl with short hair too and not your stereotypical female heroine. Her character is clear and well drawn and I found her and her uncle interesting characters.
Whilst the book does deal with some mature topics, such as slavery, poverty and gangs for ten year olds, it wasn’t written in a laboured way. The plot moved along swiftly and with care over those subjects so that I didn’t mind them being introduced to my 8 year old. A lovely additional touch were the sketches between chapters, great for enticing reluctant readers! Though my middle one is now asking for book 2 in the series, so that is definitely a sign this book captivates its readers!