When Jessica Bryant pesters her wealthy parents to allow her to have a dog as a pet, the answer is a resounding “No”; but they soon come to regret their decision when their home is broken into one evening whilst they are out and their daughter kidnapped and held for ransom. The kidnappers, in the form of four seedy and incompetent characters wearing Disneyland-type masks, take her hostage and keep her incarcerated in a place from which there appears to be no escape. However, they have reckoned without the resourcefulness of our heroine, and the courage of a wonderful stray dog who comes to her aid and whom she names ‘Murdo’. And so begins an exciting and humorous accounting of the couples’ adventures together as they consistently foil and outwit the abductors whilst on the run together.
This is a lovely story of the friendship between a girl and a dog, bringing out themes of responsibility, camaraderie, redemption, salvation and self-sacrifice. It includes some wonderful dialogue sequences as Jessica teaches her new four-legged friend how to communicate with her, with additional delightful conversations between the animals when a rabbit and a sparrow join forces with them in an effort to outwit the kidnappers and restore Jessica safely back to her parents’ home.
Written with young teenage readers in mind, this is a light easy read containing some very moving sequences, and which cannot fail to lift the hearts of anyone who reads it, irrespective of age.
The Race for Flugal Farm
The Race for Flugal Farm is the first book in a trilogy that charters the lives and adventures of the inhabitants of the Riding Stables at Flugal Farm.
Times had been hard recently for George Flugal and his wife, and this inevitably resulted in him having to sell the majority of the school’s horses until he was left with just four: Pogo, Biff, Troy and an ex-racehorse called Chance.
Chance, who along with a young stablehand Rachelle Perkins, a dog named Nugget, a pig called Nigel and an old family friend Uncle Dave, make up the Flugal’s extended family.
When they find themselves facing the possibility of having the farm, their home, repossessed by the bank, and bought out by the odious Mr Williams, have to pull together to enter a carriage drive in order to win the prize money, and save their way of life.
Genesis is the first in a series of fifteen books charting the adventures of one Captain Harry Travers: Travers is an airline captain, with over twelve years’ flying experience, flying the Airbus A320 for JaguAir, but who ends up deciding to try his hand at Private Investigating, as a side line, when he begins to investigate the disappearance of an uncle he didn’t know he had until he is informed of his being the beneficiary in the man’s will, which amounted to a sizeable piece of real estate in Tennessee. He quickly begins to believe, once he starts to deal with his late uncle’s lawyer, Anton Jeffries, that there is more to the man’s demise than meets the eye and along with one of his uncle’s friends, Tommy Shearen, they investigate leading Harry and Tommy getting involved in car chases, fist fights, shootouts and even an aerial dogfight.
In this first book we see how Travers learns the initial, valuable skills to aid and abet him during further investigations and the subsequent cases he takes on to gain valuable experience, including finding a missing dog, which leads him into discovering a dog fighting ring and helping the brother of a work colleague, Sheila Wallace, who Harry has strong feelings for and finds a love reciprocated, and has lost heavily at cards in Nero’s Casino in rather dubious circumstances. The latter case ends up with Harry and Sheila participating in a high stakes Texas Holdem Poker game. Future books will see Harry add to his experience levels eventually becoming a kind of Philip Marlowe type character, but he discovers in Genesis a much darker side to his persona when having to deal with less than salubrious characters and an acceptance that danger will lurk around every corner: if it ever came down to him or them, and he could prove their guilt beyond all reasonable doubt, Travers has no compunction to use all means, legal or illegal, to bring them to justice.
Harry though ultimately finds himself changed by the experiences of being a private detective for which he knows there can be no turning back: this is how his life will be from now on, good or bad, and he embraces it all with open arms.