A Wild and “Woolly” Adventure With a Style All Its Own
Series: The Endangered Files (Book 1)
Publication Date: December 15, 2014
Publisher: Woolly Family Studios
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If you’re looking for trouble, you’ve found it. The name’s Jake G. Panda, and trouble seems to follow me wherever I go. I work in the protection racket at a flophouse for endangered critters called the Last Resort. I’m the hotel snoop. The resident fuzz. It’s my job to keep these guests safe and outta harm’s way. This is the first of my many misadventures. A wild and woolly mystery involving a lost suitcase, a green bird, and a bunch of double-crossing animals. I’m calling it The Case of the Cursed Dodo.
“Protection is my business.” So reads the tagline on the door of Room 618 of Wildlife’s Last Resort, a hotel for endangered animals. Room 618 is the office and headquarters of Jake G. Panda, hard-boiled detective and “resident fuzz”.
When The Case of the Cursed Dodo, the first of The Endangered Files, opens, Jake’s in a bind. He’s locked in a cage, which is more than cramping his style. You see, it all started when he got a phone call from his hispid hare buddy, “The Professor”. Calling from a Moroccan phone booth, it’s immediately clear the Professor didn’t ring to chat. He’s in danger. And the trouble’s somehow connected to a suitcase he found in the Sahara with a sticker on it advertising the Last Resort. When the phone suddenly goes silent, Jake grabs his passport and rushes off to find his friend. Just like that, another investigation has begun, and Jake G. Panda is on the trail.
I’ve gotta say that I’ve not had a lot of luck with independently published books, but it’s not every day you get an email from an investigative Panda with a mystery to share. To say I was curious doesn’t begin to describe it. As Jake explains in his introductory Author’s Note, “This is not your garden-variety book. It’s actually a long-lost movie.” The story’s told in a film format called “ENDANGER’ D’ SCOPE” which reads much like classic film noir; Jake dubs it a “Jungle Noir”. Much effort was put into this unique presentation style, and one of the book’s greatest successes is its unwavering commitment to staying in character, so to speak. Dark, shadowy illustrations lend an air of mystery and danger. Another contributing factor that helps to effectively create and maintain this mood is the distinct voice of its main character. He’s no pretender; Jake G. Panda is the real deal.
Chock-full of hair-raising adventure and punny, sarcastic wit, The Case of the Cursed Dodo is a wild manhunt across the globe. All the usual suspects one expects to find in a noir are there, including the ex-girl, the one who got away but stole Jake’s heart. The cast of characters is broad, including more endangered animals than you’re probably familiar with — so many that it can be a little difficult to keep track. I wish that Jake had taken a bit more time to describe the participants so that we might learn more about their species. Understandably, though, he had a case to crack, and lives were on the line. For a time, I suspected the story might end with Jake identifying the culprit but letting him get away (setting up a chase for book two). Have no such fears. By the time the curtain falls, though you will have witnessed many double-crosses and misdirections, Jake G. Panda gets his man.
— Dawn Teresa
3.5 of 5 Hearts. A Wild and “Woolly” Adventure With a Style All Its Own.
Whether you’ve got trouble of the rarest kind, or you’re just looking for a hair-raising adventure, you’ll find your man — er, Panda — waiting at Wildlife’s Last Resort. Just ask for Jake.
*Disclosure of Material Connection: I would like to thank Jake G. Panda for providing me a copy of his book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”