Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy
Stephanie Edgley is brokenhearted over the death of her Uncle Gordon, who, in a surprise move, has left Stephanie his estate. He was a bestselling author of fantasy and magic, and hung out with what his family considered a weird, low-life crowd. One of this crowd comes to the reading of Gordon’s will. He is hidden by his dark glasses, muffler and overcoat. When Stephanie is later staying the night in the house she inherited from Gordon, this strange man saves her life. It quickly becomes apparent that Gordon was murdered and Stephanie, bored with life on the east coast of Ireland, wants to help find the killer.
But the strange Skulduggery Pleasant isn’t a man—at least not a live one—he’s a skeleton, and a powerful one at that, a detective who takes on cases in the world of magic, vampires, sorcerers, ‘cleavers,’ Elders and Hollow Men. Apparently, Gordon’s best selling novels were based on reality. And thus begins Stephanie’s adventures in the world of the supernatural.
Skulduggery and Stephanie (aka Valkyrie Cain) are a smart-mouthed, wise cracking pair as they fight the evil Nefarian Serpine, who hopes to resurrect the Faceless Ones and destroy mankind. They dodge bullets (or are shot), outrun vampires, escape cleavers and more. They survive broken bones, burning and torture. The action never stops—violence, danger nor magic—but through all they are cool. (Skulduggery even drives a 1954 Bentley.)
Skulduggery Pleasant has many great twists and turns that keep you involved in detective books. Though Stephanie is twelve, she acts much older. The violence in the book, while not gratuitous, is also more suited to teens than to kids. So don’t pass this one up if you find a copy shelved with the kids’ books. Oh—and it has that always sought after ‘more than 375 page’ benefit—even though the pages are short and the action so fast that you’ll finish in no time at all. And if you really like it, sequels are here.