Sunday, March 31, 2013

Review of Johnny Delgado by Kevin Brooks

Brooks, Kevin.  Johnny Delgado, Private Detective.  Stoke
     Books, 2012.

Johnny Delgado, who wants to be a detective, finally has his first case.  A really hot girl has paid him $50 to find out if her boyfriend, Lee Kirk, is cheating on her.  Upon taking the job, Johnny realizes he has broken two of the three rules he has set for himself.  His rules are simple.  Rule #1: Never get involved with relationship problems; Rule #2: Never get involved with local gangs; and Rule #3: Never get involved with the police.  He has now broken rules one and two.  Still, he has agreed to solve the case.

When Johnny realizes he has been framed for the murder of the current gang boss, Tyrell Jones, by Lee Kirk, he must use his wits to save himself.  With the help of his friend, Della, her brother, Marcus, a former client, Toog, and an elderly woman, Betty Travis, Johnny is able to prove his innocence and find out the name of the man who supposedly murdered his father.

This short novel has everything a reluctant reader needs—beautiful girls, murder, gangs, and non-stop action, all in under a hundred pages!  The story is told in first person by Johnny Delgado, a likable teenage boy, who aspires to be the next Sherlock Holmes.  Other characters in the book are extremely interesting—Della, who has a heart condition; Marcus, who knows everything that goes on in the projects; Toog, a large, forgetful man with a soft heart; and Betty Travis, the spry old woman who seems much younger than she actually is.

Johnny Delgado: Private Detective is reminiscent of the old Encyclopedia Brown mysteries, but for older readers.  Avid mystery and detective fans will really enjoy it!  I recommend it for high school libraries needing hi/lo additions to their collections.

**Reviewer's note:  The copy reviewed was received from Library Media Connection in exchange for an honest review.