The Dead of Night by Peter Lerangis

Posted July 22, 2014 in Book Review / 0 Comments

The Dead of Night by Peter LerangisThe Dead of Night by Peter Lerangis
Series: The 39 Clues: Cahills vs. Vespers #3
Also in this series: The Medusa Plot, A King's Ransom, Shatterproof, Trust No One, Day of Doom
Published by Scholastic Press on March 6th 2012
Genres: Adventure, Middle Grade, Mystery, Young Adult
Pages: 192
Format: Hardcover
Source: Gift
Goodreads
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four-stars

A LIFE ON THE LINE
When seven members of his family were kidnapped by the Vespers, thirteen-year-old Dan Cahill knew he was in for the fight of his life. He knew he was up against an impossibly powerful enemy. And Dan knew the odds were that some of his family members wouldn't make it.
But even as Dan steels himself to accept these facts, the unthinkable happens. The Vespers capture a blameless bystander--Dan's best friend Atticus. With an innocent life on the line, Dan kicks off a frantic hunt that will take him from the back alleys of Prague to the rock caves of Turkey. But Dan better find Atticus fast. If he doesn't, his best friend will surely die.

Main Points
Writing Style:
The writing style is pretty consistent, even if it’s written by a different author than other books.
Plot:
This series continues to not be a happy one. But the books are satisfyingly consistent in their action-adventure-mystery content.
This book is much like the last one. There are still some dark undertones. But they are getting closer and closer to finding the identity of the Vespers (a few of which have been revealed) and the location of the hostages…which is sort of a side-quest, in addition to finding the objects that the Vespers want. The Vespers certainly don’t mess around.
For a new twist, Ian goes off on his own in this book, causing the others to question him. He seems to suffer a sort of outcast-mentality. He, like Casper and Cheyenne Wyoming (the baddies of the previous book), seems to want to take things into his own hands. Of course, he’s got some knowledge on the Vespers that could be useful to the Cahills, but is he sharing with them? No. He’s an outcast. So that’s a bit of an uneasy situation.
Then we start to see a new side of Amy’s relationship with Jake. In the previous books, they pretty much hated each other. I, for one, can vouch for the fact that Jake was purely insufferable. I couldn’t stand the guy. He was always being mad for stupid reasons. But now, he seems to be a bit more helpful, and…could it be? Could he have feelings for Amy? And I think she notices it too. And even Evan realizes that he’s slowly losing Amy. It’s a bit sad. I’m not really sure what to think. But I ship Amy and Jake for now. He’s still a bit of a jerk, but he could possibly come round.
Atticus certainly proved to be the hero in his own right. He pretty much engineers his own escape, under pressure. It’s quite impressive. I was proud of him. And his fun way of telling history is much preferable to Amy’s straight-to-the-facts approach, whatever the others may think.
Good vs. Bad
Good:
  • plot
  • characters
  • writing
  • pacing
  • themes
  • history
  • mystery
  • relationships
Less than perfect:
  • heavy subject matter? I’m not really sure. I mean I like it, but would I want 10 or 12-year-olds reading this? Maybe not.
Bottom Line
This is another great addition to the series. The mysteries continue, along with other issues. It’s a little dark for a kid’s series. But the writing is great, the characters are well done, and it’s very well-researched. There are a lot of internal issues being explored, as well as the whole hostage situation. Will I continue the series? For sure. Would I recommend this to others? Maybe, but people more my age than middle grade.

About Peter Lerangis

Lerangis’s work includes The Viper’s Nest and The Sword Thief, two titles in the children’s-book series The 39 Clues, the historical novel Smiler’s Bones, the YA dark comedy-adventure novel wtf, the Drama Club series, the Spy X series, the Watchers series, the Abracadabra series, and the Antarctica two-book adventure, as well ghostwriting for series such as the Three Investigators, the Hardy Boys Casefiles, Sweet Valley Twins, and more than forty books in the series The Baby-sitters Club and its various spin-offs.[1] He has also written novels based on film screenplays, including The Sixth Sense, Sleepy Hollow, and Beauty and the Beast, and five video game novelizations in the Worlds of Power series created by Seth Godin.[2] As a ghostwriter he has been published under the name A. L. Singer.[3]
Lerangis is the son of a retired New York Telephone Company employee and a retired public-elementary-school secretary, who raised him in Freeport, New York on Long Island. He graduated from Harvard University with a degree in biochemistry, while acting in musicals[4] and singing with and musically directing the a cappella group the Harvard Krokodiloes,[5][6] before moving to New York. He worked there as an actor[7] and freelance copy editor for eight years before becoming an author.[8]
In 2003, Lerangis was chosen by First Lady Laura Bush to accompany her to the first Russian Book Festival, hosted by Russian First Lady Lyudmila Putina in Moscow.[9][10]Authors R. L. Stine (Goosebumps) and Marc Brown (the Arthur the Aardvark series) also made the trip with Bush.[9]
Also in 2003, Lerangis was commissioned by the United Kingdom branch of Scholastic to write X-Isle, one of four books that would relaunch the Point Horror series there.[11] A sequel, Return to X-Isle, was published in 2004.
In 2007, Scholastic announced the launch of a new historical mystery series called The 39 Clues, intended to become a franchise.[12] Lerangis wrote the third book in the series, The Sword Thief, published in March 2009.[13][14][15] On March 3, 2009, Scholastic announced that Lerangis would write the seventh book in the series, The Viper’s Nest.[14][16]
Lerangis lives in New York City with his wife, musician Tina deVaron, and their sons Nick and Joe.

Rating
Plot
four-half-stars
Characters
four-half-stars
Writing
four-stars
Setting
five-stars
Romance
two-half-stars
Cover
four-stars
Overall: four-stars

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