by Trina Robbins

Reviewer Rating:
4

Review

Growing up, I always loved a good mystery and this is no exception. I really appreciated how The Drained Brains Caper was set up like an old school noir film. A dame walks in and... well I won't give anything away, but anyone who is a fan of noir will love this book. Kids from ages 7 up should have no problem relating to the characters, the settings, and the references. The illustrations are crisp, and I particularly enjoyed the detail in facial expressions. This is the first book in the Chicagoland Detective Agency series and it does a good job of leaving the reader wanting more. Mystery-wise, I don't think reading the series in order is important. But since the character development is so rich, I think that reading them out of order would be a little confusing. By the end of the story, you are immersed in the world and invested in the characters. You are amused by the clever-witted protagonists and satisfied when the villain falls. 

One thing I've always loved about mysteries is the ability to leave hidden clues between the lines of text. A good mystery will always make you think, but it will always leave you a trail. Since this mystery is written in a graphic novel format, you can find clues in the illustrations as well as in the dialog between characters. I thought it left the plot feeling a little transparent, but I know that I'm a little above the recommended reading age level. 

Overall, The Drained Brains Caper felt like a simplified Sam Spade tale, one that leaves you turning the last page in the novel a few times, wondering what or who will walk through the door with a mystery to solve next time. 

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