Knightley and Son

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Overview

The once highly in-demand detective Alan Knightley has just woken up after an unexplained incident kept him asleep for four years. While he was out cold, his son, Darkus, took it upon himself to read of all his dad's old cases, and he's learned a lot about the art of detection. It's a good thing too—because suddenly the duo find themselves caught up in a crazy conspiracy that involves a group of villainous masterminds (who keep appearing and then vanishing), some high-speed car chases (that will have everyone ...

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Knightley and Son

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Overview

The once highly in-demand detective Alan Knightley has just woken up after an unexplained incident kept him asleep for four years. While he was out cold, his son, Darkus, took it upon himself to read of all his dad's old cases, and he's learned a lot about the art of detection. It's a good thing too—because suddenly the duo find themselves caught up in a crazy conspiracy that involves a group of villainous masterminds (who keep appearing and then vanishing), some high-speed car chases (that will have everyone fastening their seat belts), and a national, bestselling book with the power to make people do terrible, terrible things. But because Alan is still suffering the effects of his coma, he tends to, well, fall asleep at the worst possible moments, Meaning that young Darkus might just have to solve this mystery . . . by himself.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
01/20/2014
What if The Secret were evil? That’s what 13-year-old Darkus Knightley and his father seem to be up against in Gavin’s debut, in which a self-help book called The Code appears to be tied to a rash of criminal activity. Darkus adores his father, private investigator Alan Knightley, though it isn’t always easy: Alan never betrays much emotion, and that’s when he’s conscious (he’s been in a comalike trance for four years). Darkus has memorized his father’s case files, which comes in handy after Alan suddenly awakens, ready to take on the Combination, a criminal organization he believes is “responsible for almost every unexplained crime, both great and small, in towns and cities across the country... and possibly even the world.” Cerebral and humorless “disciples of reason,” Darkus and Alan aren’t the most engaging team, and the supporting cast is underutilized, especially the women, whether it’s Darkus’s mother, his revenge-driven stepsister, or his father’s Polish housekeeper, who’s the center of too many “jokes” about her stilted English. The action picks up toward the end, but it’s a long haul to get there. Ages 10–12. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Uma Krishnaswami
The Knightley in this title is a detective in the honorable tradition of gumshoes, trails of clues, and the chasing of maguffins. He is no less than London’s top private detective, we are told—or was until he went into a coma four years ago. When he awakens and needs his son’s help, it is thirteen-year-old Darkus who must take on the role of the PI character in this book. This intriguing mash up of genres—humor meets mystery meets fantasy—is the first of a detective drama series for the middle grades by debut novelist Rohan Gavin. The maguffin in this book, in a nicely metafictional gesture, is itself a self-help book, The Code, which appears to be setting off a host of crimes in a darkly atmospheric London. Young Darkus is an eccentric protagonist, with his funny name, his blend of insightfulness and naïvete, his mild obsessiveness, and his penchant for tweed. Plot driven and occasionally funny, with energy that is best realized in the last third of the book, Knightley and Son explores a father-son relationship in which the tables seem suddenly turned. Then there is Tilly, the sidekick with attitude—with any luck she will show up again and grow into her own in stories to come. Reviewer: Uma Krishnaswami; Ages 9 to 12.
VOYA, June 2014 (Vol. 37, No. 2) - Erin Wyatt
Darkus Knightley diligently studied the case files compiled by his father while the elder Knightley spent four years in a strange coma. When his father suddenly awakens murmuring something about a combination, the pair team up to discover the truth behind a secret, powerful group and a strange string of crimes that seem to be connected to a book called The Code. For some who read the self-help book, it holds a power of suggestion that brings to life their darkest fear and puts them under control of a mysterious force. Finding the anonymous author of the book is the key to uncovering the powerful criminal conglomerate about which the much-maligned Mr. Knightley has spent years of his life theorizing. Chases around London, the help of a secret branch of Scotland Yard, and a host of quirky characters help drive this story. While the plot to reveal the combination gets muddled at times, it is still a fun ride around London in the souped-up taxi that serves as the mode of transport for the intrepid detectives. The adults on the case are continually sidelined, leaving stepsiblings Darkus and Tilly to follow the clues and reveal the criminal plot. The two teens, who are begrudging partners, have a combined cunning and intelligence that allows them to work well together despite being an odd pair. Reviewer: Erin Wyatt; Ages 11 to 15.
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2014-02-05
Heaps of mystery, dry humor and tweed abound in this exemplar of crime fiction à la Doyle. Since 13-year-old Darkus Knightley's parents split, he sees his father, Alan—a detective of obsessive professional dedication—once a week. Darkus' sponge of a brain has absorbed the details of every former case of his father's, which fuel conversation during their visits. The conversations tend to be one-sided, though, as Alan has been comatose for four years. One evening, Alan miraculously wakes from his coma, ready to investigate a series of bizarre crimes. Alan is convinced that a powerful organization called the Combination is behind these and subsequent sprees. His records destroyed, Alan's only chance to prove his case is to tap the brain of his son. And Darkus' only chance to heal the relationship with his father (whose paternal nurturing was absent long before his hospitalization) is to solve a mammoth mystery. Even if Gavin didn't disclaim his affinity for Sherlock Holmes, it would be abundantly evident; Darkus' skill at deduction, perpetual observation and sang-froid are spot-on Holmes-ian. Don't expect a puttering Watson, though. Darkus' sidekick and stepsister, Tilly, is wrought with sass, intelligence and a never-ending supply of hair dye. Heroes, villains and settings are all fully realized through proficient description, and contemporary technology gives way to sheer brainpower. A rousing page-turner with one fault: It ends. (Mystery. 10-14)
From the Publisher
Spring 2014 Kids IndieNext Pick

ABA Indies Introduce Pick

 

"Heroes, villains and settings are all fully realized through proficient description, and contemporary technology gives way to sheer brainpower. A rousing page-turner with one fault: It ends." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

 

"Gavin has created a fun 'Sherlock Holmes'–style adventure, with modern twists and a bit of humor. The combination is skillfully done. This is a quick and fun read; a great choice for choice looking for a new mystery to dive into." —School Library Journal, starred review

 

"Written in a style reminiscent of Lemony Snicket and J.K. Rowling, this rousing mystery feels fresh and creepy at the same time . . . A thoroughly enjoyable and engrossing read." —Library Media Connection

 

"Gavin deftly paces the story, maintaining the narrative tension . . . Fans of this debut will be glad that the ending leaves the door open for sequels." —Booklist

 

"Danger and excitement—not to mention quirky characters and wonderful writing—lurk around every page!" —Chris Grabenstein, New York Times bestselling author of Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library and co-author of Treasure Hunters

 

"Knightley & Son . . . succeeds in its dual plans of unmasking a nefarious conspiracy and captivating middle-grade readers." —The Boston Globe, Pick of the Week

 

"Darkus has the calculating mind, the cool attention to detail, and the abundance of tweed of a young Sherlock Holmes . . . The mystery is genuinely compelling." —BCCB

 

"Chases around London, the help of a secret branch of Scotland Yard, and a host of quirky characters help drive this story." —VOYA

School Library Journal
★ 04/01/2014
Gr 7 Up—Darkus Knightley's father has been in a coma for four years. During that time, Darkus went through his detective dad's files and began trying to solve unfinished cases. His father suddenly wakes up and strangely enough, his recovery coincides with an uptick in crime. The crimes seem to be related to people reading a book called The Code. The elder Knightley is worried about including his son in his investigations; he is convinced that all of the little schemes and crimes are linked into a nefarious network he calls The Combination. Darkus becomes essential, however, when his father's data drive is stolen, thereby leaving Darkus as the only person who remembers and knows all of the case file information. Joining father and son is Tilly, Darkus's gadget-savvy stepsister. Can they figure out the connection between all of the seemingly random crimes? Is there a Combination? Gavin has created a fun "Sherlock Holmes"—style adventure, with modern twists and a bit of humor. The combination is skillfully done. This is a quick and fun read; a great choice for choice looking for a new mystery to dive into.—Saleena L. Davidson, South Brunswick Public Library, Monmouth Junction, NJ
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781619631533
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
  • Publication date: 3/4/2014
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 315,746
  • Age range: 10 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Rohan Gavin is a screenwriter and author based in London. He spent years working in LA and has met many villainous types in his time, some of whom may or may not be the inspiration behind characters in this book. He is a huge fan of Sherlock Holmes and his enduring love of detective fiction and very excellent cars inspired him to write this book, the first in a series.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 15, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    A Young Sherlock Holmes!

    Grab your magnifying glass and sit back to enjoy a delightful mystery that will appeal to younger readers and spark their imaginations! Knightley and Son by Rohan Gavin tells the tale of a young boy, wise far beyond his years, who is determined to be the same kind of super sleuth his father is! Young Darkus has never lost hope that his father will awake from a four year coma, sits vigil by his bed, discusses his cases as if his father could answer and has decided to pick up where his father left off. When Alan Knightley miraculously awakes from his coma, Darkus shows his father he is up to joining him in his investigations of the strange power a best-selling book has over the people who read it. Will they discover the evil behind the book? Is it magic, a curse, and will anyone be safe from its pull? Will Alan finally see Darkus as a worthy partner in his business?

    With all the mystery and adventure of a junior Sherlock Holmes, Knightley and Son will spark the imagination of readers, young and old as author Rohan Gavin creates a sinister plot for young Darkus to unravel with all of the pluck and guts of a boy who knows no limits and has a mind as sharp as a tack! Rohan Gavin has filled each page with clever characters, all with unique personalities and a few quirks, a dark puzzle to solve and a brave and adventurous hero who will stop at nothing to win his father’s approval, all while saving the day and growing up a little at the same time.

    Do I recommend this as a great way to involve children in the world of books? Definitely!

    I received an ARC edition from Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books in exchange for my honest review.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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