The Beast in the Shadows

The Dirt Bike Detective, Book 2

Children - Audiobook
Audio Book
Reviewed on 05/16/2023
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

The Beast in the Shadows is a work in the mystery, adventure, and suspense subgenres and forms the second book in The Dirt Bike Detective series. It is intended for children from middle-grade reading age upwards but will certainly be enjoyed by adults just as much. It is penned by Douglas L Hoover with narration in the audiobook format by Ramon De Ocampo. In this stand-alone installment in the series, we return to the adventures of Chase, Oliver, Jax, Eduard, and Gio as they investigate rumors of a mysterious beast marauding around Raven Ridge.

Douglas L Hoover delivers a fantastic adventure in this charming tale for the young and young at heart. There are plenty of dramatic highs and lows and all the typical sleuthing clues and plot twists that you’d expect from a great mystery story. However, beyond this, there’s a real sense of development, reliability, and personality in the young people in the cast that makes this novel special. I felt deeply connected to the diverse cast and their struggles to accept themselves.

Regarding the audiobook presentation, the work is even more enhanced and heartfelt thanks to the quality narration provided by Ramon De Ocampo. There’s a brightness to his voice that keeps the youthful spirit of the narrative going, and he knows just how to pace the mystery elements to keep you in suspense before every big reveal. Overall, I would not hesitate to recommend The Beast in the Shadows to fans of the existing series and the series for mystery enthusiasts of all ages.

Ann Linus

The Dirt Bike Detectives are a group of five middle schoolers who fancy themselves as the mystery solvers of Raven Ridge. They live up to this role most of the time, but not without leaving trouble in their wake. In The Dirt Bike Detective 2: The Beast in the Shadows by Douglas Hoover, Chase, Oliver, Jax, Eduard, and Gio are employed to investigate a pizza theft. But this seemingly simple investigation becomes complicated when they learn that a local was attacked by a beast on the same night of the pizza theft. Are these two incidents related? Against all warnings, threats, and bullying, the team attempts to crack both cases. Chase thinks there is some paranormal beast on the loose, and Jax thinks Chase is hopelessly delusional.

Douglas Hoover’s The Beast In the Shadows is a thrilling fantasy-mystery story for older children. Although this is the second installment in the series, it can be read alone. I like that I could easily follow the story even though I hadn’t read the first book, and I am impressed to the point of wanting to read it. The narrator is Oliver, but the mastermind is Chase, and I liked this unique dynamic because it made the narrative more objective. It also added an element of surprise, as I didn’t know what the brain of the team was thinking. I also enjoyed sharing Oliver’s secret love for Jax which introduced some romantic drama. I found the book’s tone and style fitting, and the ending is brilliant. This installment ends with a couple of loose ends that are perfect leads for a new adventure, which I’ll be willing to follow.

One of the biggest highlights of this book was its presentation. I listened to the audio version and the narrator, Ramon De Ocampo, did an excellent job of bringing the characters to life. I was simply awed by how he could imitate the range of characters and express their emotions. At no point was I confused about who was speaking, and I didn’t experience any hitches while listening. The Dirt Bike Detective 2 is a great listen, and I recommend it.

Ammaarah Seboa

If you’re a fan of Scooby-doo and the Mystery Gang, Nancy Drew, and Harry Potter, then The Beast in the Shadows by Douglas L. Hoover is just the book for your curious kids. Our junior sleuths are called in to investigate a pizza delivery gone wrong which coincidently occurred on the same night as a supposed animal attack on a local hiker. This sends our young heroes on the hunt to uncover the bizarre mystery as the clues pile up. Let’s not forget the map leading to hidden treasure and a meeting with the school’s elusive gambling ghost.

This was such a great listening experience and I felt like I was part of the gang right alongside Chase, Oliver, Jax, Eduard, and Gio. The audiobook is narrated by Ramon De Ocampo and is set at just over five hours of reading time. Ramon brings such liveliness to the characters that he makes you feel like you are experiencing the adventure with them. The audiobook was read at a moderate pace. Apart from the main storyline, there were several themes that kept things interesting. I loved each character Douglas L. Hoover presented in The Beast in the Shadows and the childlike wonder each seems to have. I liked the double meaning of the title and how that was echoed in the story itself. I highly recommend this to parents whose kids love all things magic, supernatural, and mystery.