Publication: February 2010 by Kids Can Press
Rating: 4 ♥ / 5 ♥ – I really liked it!
Meet Jack Lime, a self-styled P.I. who “solves problems” for his fellow students. In these three cases, Jack navigates an underworld that teems with pimply gangstas and gum-snapping femmes fatales – a.k.a high school. Whether he’s hunting hot bikes or rescuing hostage hamsters, no case is too small for this hard-boiled hero.
I really enjoyed The Adventures of Jack Lime for a number of reasons, but the first and foremost reason? The language and imagery. I am a huge fan of those old PI movies with the voice over, dark lighting, woman in a trench coat, the whole nine yards. And this book delivered! Seven though it’s set in a modern day high school, the language is very much that internal monologue of an old-time PI – same with the descriptions of people and places. I would have read this book just for that feeling alone.
Jack Lime is a shorter book, and isn’t a traditional narrative – something I both liked and disliked. The story is made up of three “cases” in which Jack uses his skills as a PI to help out his classmates. Each case shows a bit more of who Jack is as a person, his history (like why he’s narcoleptic), the community…all in that awesome PI movie-style writing and dialogue. However, the book felt unfinished to me. Though I appreciate the story format, I would have liked a bit more to it – it seemed to end a rather abruptly.
The Adventures of Jack Lime is a funny, enjoyable read that I think will be appreciated by older teens/young adults and younger teens alike. I could see this book working very well in a series (sort of like the Encyclopedia Brown books when I was young), especially since the book is divided into cases identified by time and day. While I think the old-time PI talk would be lost on younger readers (and even most teens), I can see the format being well-liked since it lends itself very well to stopping points. Reluctant readers may feel less overwhelmed knowing they have clear-cut start and stop points and won’t need to remember too many over-arching plot points. Jack Lime is definitely a book I see doing well in a classroom.