April 12, 2012

Fairy tale murder mystery

A wolf named Henry Whelp escapes from a home for wayward youth and attempts to clear his father's name in a crime for which he was not wholly responsible. He had been acting under the influence of fairy dust when he brutally murdered Little Red Riding Hood and her grandmother.

Fairy dust is addictive and hallucinogenic, with violent side effects. With assistance from Fiona, a tough fellow wolf, Henry tries to expose the dark truth about fairy dust, which involves drug smugglers, a pharmaceutical company, and a lot of dead fairies.

Action-packed, scary, and very violent (with a bit of torture), kids will no doubt get a kick out it (pun not intended). They'll also like the quirky characters, who are clever send-ups of popular fairy tale characters. There's crime boss Skinner (aka Rumplestiltskin), thieving Jack (of beanstalk fame), and Detective Inspector White, who used to live with a group of miners (seven of them). She's really good at taking people down.

Kids may not like the romance between Henry and Fiona, which involves a lot of kissing and hand/paw holding. Other readers may have a bit of trouble with the characters. Henry is not very smart (he doesn't shed his prison uniform right away), and Fiona has to juggle film canisters during a tense escape scene. I kept wondering why she didn't have a digital camera. I also wondered why the animals wore clothes. They'd be much better off without them (nothing to get ripped or dirty, and less of a hindrance when squeezing into tight spaces).

Despite these minor problems, the story is exciting and memorable, although the ending is bit unclear, with everything wrapped up a little too neatly. A sequel may be necessary.

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