Scrolling through a missing-children website, Roni Delicata gets the shock of her life. Staring back at her from the screen is a face that looks just like her fellow crime-solver Brian Bain, who was adopted as a baby. At first Brian scoffs at the resemblance, but then he realizes his parents have never really talked about his early childhood – could he actually be the missing kid?
As Roni and Brian piece together the mystery behind Brian’s adoption, other people emerge from the shadows of the past, and Brian’s parents still aren’t talking. Suddenly Brian is not just a detective on the caes – he’s the key to a mystery that everyone is after.
Ms. Bookish’s Quick Take: Doppelganger is the third book in the Bloodwater Mysteries series, and the protagonists, Roni Delicata and Brian Bain, are as likeable as ever. It’s a fast-paced story, filled with danger and excitement, and the solution to the mystery itself is satisfying. I wasn’t as happy with the overall conclusion to the book, though. Still, for children who love mysteries, Doppelganger should prove to be a fun and exciting read.
The Full Review of Doppelganger:
Doppelganger, the third in the Bloodwater Mysteries series by Pete Hautman and Mary Logue, begins with Brian Bain looking at his picture in the newspaper: he’s won a paper airplane contest, and the picture is large, showing his face almost life-size.
At the same time, Brian’s crime-solving partner, Roni Delicata, is checking child-abduction sites. If she could only find one of the missing children, it could be her big break in the investigative world – or at least, she could write about it for her column in her high school paper. Roni clicks on the name of one of the children, and stares in amazement at the age-progressed photo that fills her screen. It’s Brian. She’s sure of it.
These two events trigger the resulting mystery in Doppelganger. The action is fast-paced, and fairly credible. As a reader of the series, it was interesting to find out more about Brian’s background. Of Korean heritage, he had been adopted as a baby by his police officer mother and his absent-minded professor father. Or so Brian thought.
The villain of the piece is scary indeed, and as the excitement builds, the novel becomes a real page-turner. The mystery itself ends with a solution that ties all the loose pieces together in a satisfying way.
But for me, the actual conclusion to the story, the final chapter after the bad guy is put away, was somewhat of a disappointment. I don’t want to spoil the ending for readers, so I will just say that it seemed to me that Brian was given something very precious, and then it was taken away from him again, yet he deals with it a little too well, especially given all the feelings that came up for him surrounding his adoption. I thought it was a situation where it would be quite normal for someone to see 2+2 and, at least momentarily, come up with a 3, a 5 or an 8, but most certainly not a 4. At least, not right away. Or maybe it’s just that I was disappointed not to be reading a different, happier ending.
All in all, though, Doppelganger is a satisfying addition to the Bloodwater Mysteries series. It’s sure to thrill past readers of the series and make new fans out of kids who have never read the books before. Roni and Brian are likeable characters with contrasting strengths; they make a great team. The mystery itself is complex enough to be engrossing, and the danger is very real. Ms. Bookish’s Rating: A-/B+: Enjoyable Read/Good Read ?