Into the Dark (Echo Falls Mystery) by Peter Abrahams

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Into the Dark (Echo Falls Mystery) by Peter Abrahams

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Category: Teens
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Jason Mark Curley
Reviewed by Jason Mark Curley
Summary: From Peter Abrahams, the man Stephen King called my favorite American suspense novelist comes the third part of the award winning, Echo Falls trilogy, Into the Dark.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 304 Date: August 2008
Publisher: Walker
ISBN: 1406300306

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Ingrid Levin-Hill seems to have a normal life. She goes to school, lives with her parents and brother and is rehearsing for a production of Hansel and Gretel with the Prescott Players, the local amateur dramatic society. But Ingrid is far from an ordinary girl. Her hero is Sherlock Holmes, and just like the fiddle-playing detective, she has already gained a reputation for solving mysteries.

One evening, after rehearsals, her father drives her over to see her Grampy. Before he leaves her father asks him to sign some papers. He refuses to do it on the spot, and tells him to leave the papers with Ingrid.

When they get into Grampy's house, Ingrid picks up the phone to receive a call for her Grampy from a Dr. Pillman. He says 'Wrong number' and hangs up. That night, Ingrid hears an argument at the front door; A man from the Department of Conservation is trying to take photos and while arguing with Grampy. He is shooed off the farm at the end of Grampy's .22 calibre rifle, threatening to come back with a warrant and the police.

It's becoming increasingly clear to Ingrid that something is not right in Echo Falls – mystery is in the air and she's got to be the one to uncover it.

This book was a little difficult to connect with, but I think that's mostly because it's the third of a series. Having said that, there's a lot about this book that I liked: a great cast of realistic and interesting characters, I'm guessing a number of them have been set up in the previous books, but this novel comes in with a cast heavy rehearsal scene, making the opening few pages fairly difficult to follow with the number of names being thrown around.

Things soon settle down as the story gets going. That's one of the best things about this novel, it is very tightly plotted, enabling you to comfortably swim amongst the mystery. Abrahams has very obviously spent a great deal of time developing Echo Falls as the world for this series of novels. It's all so well described and referenced, bringing to mind Rankin's descriptions of Rebus' Edinburgh, in quality and style rather than in substance.

Even with all of this there is something missing from this book. It seems like it plays very much by the numbers and is just lacking that original spark to make it something extra special. I have no doubt that a lot of children will enjoy this book, but I don't think it's going to be the type of novel that stays with you and will force you to re-read it. Again, I think that this might be due to the fact it's the third part of a series, and I can only imagine a lot of backstory, mythology and character development has happened in the first two novels.

Taking this into account and given the overall quality of the writing, I'd have to recommend that, if you can, it might be a good idea to start from the beginning of this series.

If you enjoy this book, I'd recommend The Trap by Sarah Wray and Triskellion by Will Peterson.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending me a copy of this book.

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