________________ CM . . . . Volume XXIV Number 35. . . .May 11, 2018


In Too Deep. (The Shenanigans Series; Bk. 5).

Andreas Oertel.
Victoria, BC: Wandering Fox/Heritage House, 2018.
172 pp., trade pbk. & epub, $9.95 (pbk.).
ISBN 978-1-77203-239-0 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-77203-240-6 (epub).

Grades 4-9 / Ages 9-14.

Review by Mary Thomas.

*** /4



It was 3:30 in the morning and we were about to break the law.

"We better hurry," Eric said. "The sun will be up in an hour."

I stopped staring at Smoke Lake and turned to the east, where a hint of pink was already visible on the horizon. We'd waited too long to sneak away from home, and now we didn't have much time left to conduct our criminal activities.

"Are you sure you still want to do this?" I mumbled.

"Well, yeah," Eric said, then quickly added, "This was your idea."

"But if we get caught ... we've had it," I whispered.

I didn't need to whisper by the way -- there was no one around for kilometres -- but it seemed like the proper way to communicate at the time.

"Don't worry," Eric said, trying to soothe my fears. "We'll be gone long before anyone shows up."


It’s the last week of the summer holidays. For Cody and his friends, Rachel and Eric, it has been eventful, to say the least, with several real adventures to their credit involving crimes committed and mysteries solved. It is perhaps not too much to hope for that they keep out of trouble for this one final week. But if that were their aim, to go scuba diving in the water-hazard of the Smoke Lake golf course after having been specifically refused permission to do so by the head greens-keeper is perhaps not the way to go about it. However, the lure of money to be made from the sale of all the golf balls lost in the lake and just waiting to be collected is too great, and so Eric and Cody are on the shores of the lake, scuba gear in hand and LED flashlights at the ready, at three o’clock in the morning, preparing to make their fortunes. Or at least a bit of pocket money.

      There were certainly lots of golf balls! The shopping bag around Cody’s wrist was getting very heavy, even under water, when Eric’s light suddenly began to jerk about and he shot up past Cody, obviously panic-stricken. What could he have seen/found that would trigger such an extreme reaction?

      So begins the start of yet another adventure for Cody and the twins. Oertel manages to keep the tension high as the three of them investigate what the boys had found, where it might have come from, and who would have wanted to put it there. Those questions are all answered very satisfactorily; why the thing was stolen in the first place and then dumped in the lake is less well dealt with. An implicit suggestion of racism and small-town rivalries is not quite sufficient to explain such an action or to explain why those involved are prepared to kidnap the young people who discover it and then wave loaded guns around. Does it, in fact, all hark back to internal disagreements in the Robin-Hood type gang that the villains – and Cody’s dad! – all belonged to back in their high-school days? Perhaps Oertel really means to leave these ends dangling, either to serve as the beginning of yet another story, or to give the reader something to think about. If the latter is the case, he has succeeded, at least with this particular reader!

      As you can tell from the above, I don't want to be tell more than is essential to get you interested. The fun is in the break-neck pace of the plot developments and the tangled web of motivations, and I should hate to spoil it. Get In Too Deep, read it, enjoy it! I did.


Mary Thomas became a fan of this series with book one, The Archeolojesters, and has continued to enjoy the books from then on.

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