Interest Level: 10-14
The Screech Owls are back! The pee-wee hockey team from the fictional town of Tamarack, B.C. is off to San Antonio, Texas, inexplicably the host of an invitational tournament over the American Thanksgiving weekend. San Antonio is home to The Alamo, an adobe fort that played a pivotal role in the Texas-Mexican War nearly 150 years ago. It’s where the famous Davy Crockett died, along with a number of other famous Americans like Jim Bowie (who left the world the Bowie knife). It’s also where the hockey team finds itself outwitting a dangerous demented criminal whose lack of hockey knowledge is his undoing.
For those who aren’t familiar with the series, the Screech Owls have been hipchecking criminals into the boards for nearly 20 years now, enthralling hockey-loving mystery fans along the way through 20+ novels for children. Team captain Travis Lindsay (I know), his sort-of-best friend “Nish” Nishikawa, teammates Sarah, Sam (for Samantha), Jenny, Data and the rest of the team manage to solve crimes as easily as they stickhandle the puck and outmaneuvre their opponents. Predicable and formulaic, sure, but it’s still fun reading, and anyone with even a bit of hockey knowhow will enjoy the references to Zambonis, shinpads and tough plays in the corners. Plus, having visited San Antonio for the first time last spring, I was really digging the descriptions of the River Walk, the birds and flowers and the rest as part of the setting for this novel. I agree, The Alamo looks puny, surrounded by downtown buildings and shopping strips.
The book is slated for publication in mid-February, so no reviews yet, but they’ll be showing up soon: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15792609-face-off-at-the-alamo