Kidnap in the Caribbean by Lauren St John (July 2011, Orion Childrens ISBN 1444000217)
Review: Kidnap in the Caribbean is the sequel to the award-winning Dead Man's Cove and both feature the plucky and forthright eleven-year-old Laura Marlin, an orphan recently taken in by a long-lost uncle who lives in St Ives, Cornwall. Laura's uncle is an ex-detective and the talent seems to run in the family.
This time round, the story isn't set in St Ives but much further afield when Laura wins the holiday of a lifetime when she buys a raffle ticket from a street vendor. An all-expenses paid cruise to Antigua in the Caribbean, a holiday villa there and return flights. Her uncle is not keen at first but soon has a surprising change of heart. Laura's best friend Tariq and her 3-legged husky Skye are at the docks to see the pair off but events conspire and Tariq and Skye find themselves trapped aboard the ship. Luckily Laura's room has twin beds. With her uncle incapacitated on the journey Laura and Tariq entertain themselves - and there's lots to do. They, reluctantly at first, add another boy to their circle - Jimmy who is a bit of a pest- but they will be glad they did.
A few strange events occur on-board the ship but that's nothing to when Laura's uncle disappears and when the boat docks in Antigua, Laura and Tariq have to use their wits and rely on the kindness of strangers to get Laura's uncle back and keep themselves out of the clutches of the villains.
Kidnap in the Caribbean is an exciting adventure with two resourceful young leads (and a very intelligent dog!). Tariq is coming out of his shell but is still a quiet character. Part of the story is set on the island of Montserrat and I was pleased to learn more about the island and its volcano. There is an underlying environmental theme to the plot and there are notes at the back informing the reader about the state of the oceans and some of its inhabitants. Anything that makes the reader think about the state of the planet, is fine by me.
This is a entertaining series starring an independent and intelligent girl who is given free reign by her trusting guardian and makes good use of it.
Sadly the next book's not out until August 2012.