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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Odds of Getting Even, written by Sheila Turnage. Kathy Dawson Books, Penguin. 2015. $18.99 ages 8 and up

"We found Harm standing by the steps, shivering in his sweater and moth-bitten scarf. "You look like you're freezing," I told him. "Coolest guy in middle school," he said, his breath steaming in the cold. "Who am I kidding? I'm freezing my begonias off. Let's go inside." Lately Harm's using flower names as off-color words - a trick Miss Lana taught him. He says it keeps his grandfather, Mr. Red, off his back."

If Mo, Dale, Harm and the folks from Tupelo Landing, North Carolina, are new to you, you are in for a remarkable reading experience. But, don't start here. Instead, get yourself to the library or bookstore and find the first two books of this outstanding series, Three Times Lucky and The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing. You might decide that you want all three on your 'keepers' shelf as I do!

Reading this book without reading the first two is absolutely OK! But - it is a much more satisfying experience to read all three! That way you will get to KNOW a very special cast of characters who worry about each other, and work together to make their world a much better place. The setting is full of charm, and the writing is terrifically funny and original.

It's another mystery, attractive to fans and sure to garner many more. Mo and Dale are at the center of the action in this plot-driven, action filled adventure. Dale's older brother Lavender is in danger and the Desperado Detective Agency is out to find the culprit threatening him. Their father Macon in on trial for his role in a crime committed in the second book of the series. When he escapes, he is blamed for robberies and even the attempted murder of his older son. But, who is the real criminal? Will Mo, Dale and Harm use the evidence presented and their previous experience to unravel the mystery and capture the culprit to blame?

Once started, you will be loathe to put the book down. You want to just keep rolling along as the suspense mounts and the three follow all leads to solve yet another mystery in Tupelo Landing. Mo's voice is as strong and spirited as we have come to expect. I have marked so many pages for quotes that I am tempted to share them ALL with you. But, you would do better to read it yourself and enjoy the ride. Full of fun and perfect for a family readaloud, this series pleases with its intrigue, its love of family, and its heart.  

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