Monday, January 14, 2013

Review: Guy Langman, Crime Scene Procrastinator

Guy Langman, Crime Scene Procrastinator
By Josh Berk, read by Jim Meskimen
Published 2012 by Listening Library

Guy doesn't really have any interests. Well, besides breasts, but he can't really pursue that one. However, when his friend Anoop convinces him to join the forensics club as a way to meet girls, Guy figures he'll give it a try. Maybe then he WILL be able to pursue his main interest. But when a real dead body shows up, Guy and company must take their forensics skills to the next level and figure out what happened.

So I unintentionally listened to both of Josh Berk's books pretty much back-to-back. This is not necessarily a bad thing; it was just a lot of teenage guy narration in a short period of time. The problem now, however, is that it's been at least a month since I finished this (the second of the two I read) and I'm having a hard time keeping the details between the two books distinct. Well, I suppose that's not exactly true. The main characters of the two books are not necessarily all that similar: Hamburger Halpin is overweight, deaf, and nerdy. Guy Langman is still dealing with the death of his father and also nerdy. But, both find themselves as amateur sleuths when they encounter unexpected death. Additionally, the narrative voices of the two boys are not all that different from each other. I suppose that is the real reason why I'm having some trouble keeping the two books distinct in my mind. The mysterious death investigations also seem to run in much the same way - both boys enlist the help of their friends and the Internet in their attempts to solve the "crimes." Despite these similarities, I wouldn't necessarily call it a flaw that the two boys' narratives sound alike - in both cases, they read as very true accounts of the inner workings of the mind of a teenage guy. There are a number of laugh-out-loud moments in both books, though I think I remember laughing more with this one. The secondary characters don't really stand out as much in this one, though, and I thought the red herring was a bit too obvious here. However, the great thing about both of these books is that they feel genuine in their narration. They combine humor with mystery and I think it's a really successful combination. Any teens looking for a laugh (especially boys) should give these books a shot.

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