________________ CM . . . . Volume XXII Number 17. . . .January 8, 2016


Let Sleeping Dogs Lie. (Dirk Darling, Secret Agent).

Helaine Becker.
Victoria, BC: Orca, 2016.
227 pp., trade pbk., pdf & epub, $9.95 (pbk.).
ISBN 978-1-4598-1038-9 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-4598-1039-6 (pdf), ISBN 978-1-4598-1040-2 (epub).

Grades 6-9 / Ages 12-15.

Review by Lacey Hall.

*** /4

Reviewed from Advance Reading Copy.



The Beast’s twitchy eyes twitched in my direction.

“Rigggghht. My little bro, Trav, tells me you are the mastermind of this ‘operation.’ That you fancy yourself some kind of ‘special agent’.” He leered, revealing a glinting canine tooth. “I gotta say, you’ve made yourself a name, dude.”

I bowed slightly. Mockingly.

“Don’t get too full of yourself, kid.”

He released Waldo. Then he rolled closer to me in his creepy rolly chair.

“Like I said. Because of what you did, we have a problem. But we is not going to fix it. You is.”

He crossed his arms. Eased back his beast-seat. Exhaled a foul waft of beast-breath.

“Cut the crap,” I said. “Name your game.”

He chuckled. A dark, ugly, beastified chuckle.

“My game is $100. A week. From now to – forever. Because my associates – you might know them as the Wolf Lords – ”

I felt Waldo shudder.

“ – are very, very unhappy that you broke up their Preston operation. It interrupted their cash flow, which I, uh, administered. And that made them unhappy with me. Which is not acceptable!”


Darren Dirkowitz is back, and this time he has a full spy team, including his older stepbrother (Code name: Waldo), Opal (Code name: Agent Jewel) and even his ex-best friend, Travis (Code name: T-Bone). This time the Wolf Lords, a group of older kids who go to Northern, are wreaking havoc on the group. Because of Dirk Daring’s success in shutting down the Detention Gang at Preston, the Wolf Lords aren’t raking in the cash any longer, and they put it on Dirk and his team to pay up each week. Meanwhile, rumors of a school merger between Preston and Northern circulate the school, giving the team the added pressure of formulating a plan to stop it.

     Let Sleeping Dogs Lie, Dirk Daring was well-written, like Dirk Daring, Secret Agent, the first book, and is thick with sarcasm, humour and wit. Unlike Dirk Daring, Secret Agent, which focussed on Darren feeling ostracized among his peers and bullied by Waldo for his interest in spying, this book focuses more on the friendships Darren has built within his group. It is also nice to see him work with his stepbrother, rather than against him.

     In my review of the first book, I had felt there was a discrepancy in the way the characters spoke, specifically the jokes and references made, such as “B.S.”. This book is no different. I still questioned their ages very often, feeling they should be in at least grade eight, if not older.

     Overall though, Let Sleeping Dogs Lie, Dirk Daring was even more enjoyable than the first, and I feel this would be a great recommendation for reluctant readers as the pages are filled with diary entries, code logs and interview excerpts, making it a fun read.


Lacey Hall, the assistant to the Dean of the School of Business at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, is pursuing her Masters in Children’s Literature at the University of British Columbia.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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