Zeuglodon

James P. Blaylock, Author
James P. Blaylock. Subterranean (www.subterraneanpress.com), $35 (224p) ISBN 978-1-59606-454-6
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Revisiting the world of 2002’s The Digging Leviathan, Blaylock invokes the spirits of Verne, Burroughs, and Twain with this tween-centric adventure. Eleven-year-old would-be cryptozoologist Kathleen Perkins is working with her younger cousins, Brendan and Perry, to unravel the secrets of a mysterious mermaid box that contains a key for which people are willing to do anything. Forced to outwit enemies such as Lord Wheyface the Creeper and the sinister Dr. Hilario Frosticos, Kathleen and the others must go straight to the heart of the mystery: a realm in the center of the Earth. While the concept is as interesting as it is old-school, embodying a strong sense of wonder and nifty ideas aplenty, the actual narrative drags thanks to Kathleen’s equally antique manner of description. What should be a quick and breezy romp comes off as dense and oddly forgettable. Agent: John Berlyne, Zeno Agency Limited. (Sept.)
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