Score: 91/100 (9.1 out of 10)
The Dirt Bike Detective: The Beast in the Shadows is the much-anticipated second book in The Dirt Bike Detective series! This is a series that follows a group of ragtag students of a bizarre, haunted school as they attempt to solve mysteries together.
The previous book seriously impressed us with its wit and humor. The entire book almost reads like a satire of the genre, taking the perspective of a snarky and sarcastic yet insecure little boy named Oliver as he chronicles the adventure he has with a young paranormal detective named Chase, and his crush, Jax.
Now, did Chase and Oliver swap places in this book? We ask this because their personalities seem almost the opposite of what they were in the previous book. Primarily, Chase—the cool and collected Sherlock Holmes-type—is scared and terrified for much of this book. Meanwhile, Oliver is quite composed, although he still ponders phenomena like the moving gargoyle statues outside the school and the ghost of Charlie Hackett, a student who is believed to have leaped from the top of the school in its distant past.
Now, Chase has a lot of reasons to be terrified in this book. He begins this book basically having PTSD nightmares based on what happened in the previous book. He also has a serious reason to fear for his immortal soul in the middle of the this book.
This kinda highlights that being brave doesn't mean not being scared, it's being scared and going through with things anyway.
Jax is a little less appealing in this book than the last, especially since she seems to be the Debbie Downer of the group. She likes to think rationally and refuses to believe that things like ghosts and monsters exist. She also seems to be the pessimist of the group. However, Oliver still thinks the world of her.
One thing that was instantly exciting about this book is that a lot of unsolved/unresolved mysteries from the previous book were still present. The epilogue/epic-overblown-explanation at the end of the last book still admitted that there were still a few unresolved plot threads and some holes left.
Many of the major and minor players from the last book were still out there doing their thing:
- The Gambler Ghost is still functioning, apparently in the basement under the school that led to the secret undergoround mines in the last book
- Charlie Hackett is still a presence, haunting the school and appearing from time to time
- Odyssey, the hot blonde ghost is still out doing her thing and actually has a somewhat major role in this book
- Principal Sterns, who we'd assumed would be a villain if not the main villain of the last book, is still around. He escaped the last book mostly unscathed, mostly serving as a kind of red herring.
- Miss Crabtree is still Miss Crabtree, probably giving birth to all-star wide-receivers and teaching... whatever she teaches. Was it literature? Was she the one who kept reciting poems in the last book?
- Frank the maintenance guy is still here, more sketchy and suspicious than ever
- Ana Rahela, one of our favorite characters from the last book, is back as the running meme that she is. However, she actually seems more involved with the crew this time around, almost a part of the team... almost. It is still hilarious how annoying the narrator, Oliver, finds her, even imagining giving her a one-way ticket to a far away place.
Ana is a true intellectual and an imaginative person despite the eye-rolls she gets from Oliver and crew. She actually comes up with one of the most clever ideas for solving part of the mystery.
Speaking of mystery, this book's plot kicks off with—of all things—the mysterious theft of some pizzas. This later snowballs into a crazy, wild plot that goes up, down, side to side, and all around.
This is definitely a fun and humorous book series!
Check it out on Amazon!