Alan Gratz knocks me out (or maybe he knocks my socks off). I loved SAMURAI SHORTSTOP then laughed aloud as I read SOMETHING ROTTEN. I have sung the praises of that book as either a substitute for Hamlet or at least prereading or postreading with the play performed somewhere along the way (and not read). And now we have SOMETHING WICKED, hus wonderful take on MacBeth in a contemporary setting. Horatio Wilkes is back, this time with his friend Mac and Mac's girlfriend, Beth. They are all together for the Scottish games. It promises to be a weekend of kilts, bagpipes, and tree tossing. Horatio is not exactly psyched to be there until he meets the fair Megan. However, what should be a festival ends in tragedy when the bloodied body of Duncan MacRae is found in his tent. All evidence points to Malcolm, but Horatio's instinct tells him there is more to the murder than meets the eye immediately. Once more Horatio is called upon to use his talents of observation to discern the identity of the true killer.
What I love about both of these books based upon Shakespeare's plays is the humor that, like one of the Bard's fools, alleviates the tension and lightens some of the darkness in the stories. Horatio is snarky and so are the ones he loves and who love him. I love snark (not a surprise to anyone who reads this blog, I suspect). I hope middle and high school English teachers will read these books and offer them to students. I know they will enjoy reading them as much as I do. And do not overlook SAMURAI SHORTSTOP either.
And a final FYI: this is the book that kept me from losing my mind and patience yesterday while I waited more than 3 hours for my appointment to treat the neck that has been plaguing me for too long. I even picked it back up when I returned home from the surgery center, but the happy juice made the words swim too much. Thankfully, I had some time this afternoon to suck the rest of it down in one big gulp.