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{October 31, 2019}   {ARC Review} Monster on the Moors by J.M. Kelly (A Bobby Holmes Mystery)

From Goodreads: Monster On The Moors is an MG-YA horror thriller that takes place in the eerie North York Moors of England. Clairvoyant Bobby Holmes, his American cousin Brenda Watson, and their friends, wise guy Stevie and Michael (who is challenged by Asperger Syndrome), are drawn into a deadly mystery. They are hunted by an ancient wolf creature controlled by evil witches of British lore. When one of their friends is captured, they must rely on the investigations of a librarian who is more than he seems, the mystical gifts of a gypsy king, a mysterious stranger at the center of it all, and their own wits in a desperate race to save their friend and come out alive. 

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Monster on the Moors, which releases today, is a great middle grade book, and I’ve already recommended it to my ten-year-old niece. As an adult, I found it a fun, quick read, and I think that it’s got just the right amount of mystery, horror, and spunky humor that it will easily catch the attention of even the most reluctant reader.  It begins with a bit of a grotesque prologue, but nothing that isn’t too overbearing, and the horror aspect of this novel is quite mild, in my opinion. Our four heroes, Bobby and the gang, make up a modern day Sherlock Holmes and John Watson, and J.M. Kelly even uses the sleuthing genius’s last names as homage to the great Arthur Conan Doyle’s characters. Bobby Holmes, and his cousin Brenda Watson, plus friends Stevie and Michael, make up the team as they begin searching for clues concerning the awful slayings happening on the Moors of England, leading them on many an adventure as they work to decipher Bobby’s visions and save those who would be the “monsters” next prey.

While Monster on the Moors is technically the second book in the Bobby Holmes Mystery series, you do not need to read the first novel prior to this one, as each book can stand alone.

I think the characterization was spot on throughout this novel, with many tidbits to giggle over as the four friends work to make heads or tails of their situation. From train rides to chases amongst the ruins, Bobby and his friends, and their trusty adult side-kick, take the reader on an adventure that they’re not soon to forget. I was impressed with the quick pace and Kelly’s ability to make sense of a strange situation, creating a world where it worked to have four younsters running amuck by themselves, while many of the adults went about their business. In other words, I didn’t find it far-fetched, and that is always a plus for me as a reader. I also liked that I didn’t always know what was going to happen next. Some MG books that I’ve read are extremely heavy on the foreshadowing, but I did not find that to be the case with this read. While I would think that I knew what was going to happen next, Kelly kept me guessing, which is another reason I think this is a great read for tweens and even teens. It’s lighthearted enough, with just enough scare to it that I think it’s the perfect read for this Halloween night. Four stars.

I received a copy of this novel from Netgalley and the publisher, Publications, Ltd, in exchange for an honest review.

Paperback | Hardcover



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