Howard Wallace, P.I. by Casey Lyall

FTC Notice: This book was provided free in exchange for an honest review. This is no way impacts my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

howard-wallace-piTitleHoward Wallace, P.I.
AuthorCasey Lyall
Series: stand-alone (so far)
Publish Date: September 6, 2016
Genre: Children’s Mystery
Source: Received at BEA 2016

Publisher’s Description: “What’s with the get-up? Is that the company uniform or something?”

“This? All P.I.s wear a trench coat.”

“Dude, that’s a brown bathrobe.”

I shrugged and straightened out my sleeves. “First rule of private investigation, Ivy: work with what you’ve got.”

Twelve-year-old Howard Wallace lives by his list of rules of private investigation. He knows more than anyone how to work with what he’s got: a bathrobe for a trench coat, a makeshift office behind the school equipment shed, and not much else—least of all, friends.

So when a hot case of blackmail lands on his desk, he’s ready to take it on himself . . . until the new kid, Ivy Mason, convinces him to take her on as a junior partner. As they banter through stakeouts and narrow down their list of suspects, Howard starts to wonder if having Ivy as a sidekick—and a friend—is such a bad thing after all.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Agent_Annie_100Agent Annie says…

Howard Wallace, P.I. by Casey Lyall is a fun read. The author does a great job with how a kid would interpret classic private investigator movies and books. It’s quite humorous to picture Howard, in his brown terrycloth trench coat (really just a bathrobe) growling about dames and telling his mother to “scram.”

Another classic and funny line by this 12 year old boy is “Coffee, black.” his mother ripostes “Orange Juice. From the Carton” and his response? “Orange juice is a mood enhancer. I require all of my surliness today.” This just gives you a glimpse of how well the author captures this family.

Howard is joined by a girl who has just moved to town and they have to investigate a theft of student council checks. The author did a great job of creating real mystery as to who was the culprit and at the same time, developing the relationship of Howard and his junior partner, Ivy.

I particularly liked that even though Howard was in trouble and broke some rules, the parents recognized that what he did to solve the mystery and right the wrong was ultimately a good thing. These parents were loving and kind and “understood” their son. I also laughed out loud when Howard was called into the principal’s office where

“…the air was thick with silence and the dry scent of pencil shavings. I didn’t realize that anyone used pencils anymore, let alone pencils that needed to be sharpened. Maybe it was a special air freshener sold to principals to add a subliminal sense of academia to their workspace.”

badge4v4I think the author really captures to transition of Howard as a solo investigator to being a part of a team. The first page is Howard’s rules of Investigation and the last page is the amended rules with edits that are obviously Ivy’s addition and that’s really what makes this book special. Howard is a loner at the beginning of the book and he learns what friendship really is and how lonely he’s been without a friend and Ivy is perfect for him and they truly make a great pair. If there is a sequel to this, I look forward to reading it! I give the book 4 stars.

FTC Notice: This book was provided free in exchange for an honest review. This is no way impacts my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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About Agent Annie

I am a former Independent bookstore owner that created a 30 books in 30 minutes presentation for book clubs, libraries and avid reader groups. I specialize in short reviews that focus on plot, theme and discussion topics. I primarily read mystery/thriller, who-done-its and sci-fi/fantasy. I love stories in any format and will listen to an audio book as quickly as I would read a paper or digital version. I prefer books that make you think, don't have a predictable ending and tend to have some aspect that is outside the current norm. I tend to enjoy series once I am hooked on the main characters and the world and am very loyal. Some of the books I've enjoyed in the past are: Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear, The Dragon Riders of Pern by Anne & Todd McCaffrey and The Sherlockian Graham Moore. I will also read ANYTHING by Stephen King. As a matter of fact, I wrote a graduate level paper on the leadership styles in The Stand. I will accept review requests.

Posted on October 15, 2016, in 4-Good, Agent Annie, Middle Grade, Mystery, Review and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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