'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Friday 14 April 2023

Review: Rock Star Detectives: Murder At The Movies

Hold onto your hats – it’s those rock star detectives turned movie-stars. And now, they’re solving a murder!

The brilliant and laugh-out-loud funny second mystery novel from comedian Adam Hills featuring a young detective dream team.

Written by one of Australia’s favourite comedians (and straddling two countries, no less), there’s much to love about this book. Junior- and Middle-Grade-Fiction readers will have it for breakfast. I personally inhaled it along with a nice cup of tea.

School friends Charley and George have moved on from last year’s world domination of the rock and roll charts, and now they’re making a movie about that journey. But while they’re on-set in Sydney, it seems that somebody wants them to fail. 

For instance, a massive movie-light smashes to the ground, narrowly missing Charley. Then a deadly red-back spider finds its way onto her hair – and these things are just the beginning! 

Will the detective dream team sort things out before Charley is seriously injured, or worse?

Hills successfully builds mystery as our investment in the characters and the storyline grows. The narrative is well written and thoughtfully laid out. With illustrations, Social Media posts and ‘detective lists’ along the way, the evidence grows and propels the story – and the intrigue – ever onward.

The approach is clever and will appeal equally to girls, boys and those who fall in between. Rock Star Detectives: Murder At The Movies contains something for everyone: action, drama, comedy, friendship, movie-making, rock and roll, diversity, high wire acts. You name it, it’s definitely in here somewhere. And all conveniently wrapped up in a mystery that needs to be solved before Charley is literally murdered.

It is no mean feat that the book remains upbeat while exploring potentially dark, foreboding subject matter. Props to all involved for keeping the narrative friendly and accessible, while still retaining the anticipation and gravitas that are necessary for an excellent mystery novel! My sense is that the book will have broad appeal for 8 – 14 year-olds.

A wonderfully funny, mysterious, pithy and entertaining story that children will love.

Title: Rock Star Detectives: Murder At The Movies
Author: Adam Hills
Illustrator: Luna Valentine
Publisher: Puffin, $16.99
Publication Date: February 2023
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9780241519691
For ages: 8 - 11
Type: Junior Fiction