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Reviewed by Savannah Aldridge for Readers' Favorite
The Beast in the Shadows is a thrilling second book in Douglas L. Hoover’s Dirt Bike Detective series. Oliver and his friends have succeeded in saving the world from mayhem and are happy to pick up another mystery to solve: what happened to the pizza their friend Spencer was supposed to deliver. Meanwhile, a mauling by a monster in the mountains makes the leader of Oliver’s middle school detective agency wonder if a werewolf may have caused both incidents. As pressure mounts to find answers, Oliver and the group work hard to solve their cases, figure out the mystery of a strange shadow, win a cursed card game against a ghost, and prevent bullies from announcing Oliver’s secret crush to the school. It’s a fantastically written and well-paced adventure that will keep readers guessing until the end.
If you are a fan of imaginative tales and quality narrators, this story is for you, no matter your age! I loved how the book continued to sway between scientific and paranormal explanations for the events of the story, with characters continuously questioning what was true. Hoover created characters that are worth getting to know and captures what it is like to be twelve, without talking down to the target audience. As a mystery novel, this book is woven together in a way that allows the reader to find the clues and watch the story come together without giving anything away too early. I experienced genuine surprise at the conclusion! Though I had not read the previous book in the Dirt Bike Detective series, Hoover expertly wrote this story to clue readers into the backstory. The Beast in the Shadows is a standalone read.