K-9 Knightly and Son, Book 2, by Rohan Gavin (Bloomsbury USA Childrens, Feb. 2015, upper middle grade/YA)
Young Darkus Knightley is, for the most part, proud to be his father's co-investigator of the criminally weird. But his dad is not the most reliable father or partner; he can't be counted on to be conscious, which is a problem. When K-9, the second book about Knightly and Son begins, Knightly senior is out of commission, having left Darkus with a traumatised ex-bomb-disposal dog, Wibur, and a difficult step-father. When a new investigation starts heating up--with something savagely killing pets in the wilds of London's Hamstead Heath, and policemen being tracked and savaged by aggressive canines, Darkus sets off with Wilbur to investigate. Is a werewolf responsible? as Darkus father, resurfacing and investigating as well, seems to believe, or is it a puzzle that Darkus's more rational brain can unravel?
Those who love junior detectives at work will enjoy this one....there are lots of clues, considerable mystery, and Darkus is a sympathetically intelligent young hero, joined in sleuthing by his stepsister, Tilly, who I actually found more interesting..... It's a good page turner.
Those who are saddened by the deaths of dogs, however, should approach this one cautiously....What Darkus finds hidden on Hampstead Heath is grotesque, and Spoiler Alert (highlight to read), and I think it's an important spoiler, because a lot of readers won't like this bit at all) sadly (very sadly) Wilbur, who's the most endearing character in the whole book, gives his life at the end.
It turns out not to be a fantasy book after all, but there is enough that is fantastical so that those actually expecting bona fide werewolves won't be disappointed. Not to my personal taste, just because young detective and dogs aren't really my favorites), but a solid page-turner. It was gripping and interesting enough so that I am tempted to go back and read book 1 (though this second book stood alone just fine), and I am curious to see what the future holds for young Darkus......
Here's another review at Ms. Yingling Reads; she enjoyed it more than me.
disclaimer: review copy received from the publisher.