The Mysterious Abductions
Series: The Nocturnals, Book 1
Written by Tracey Hecht
Illustrated by Kate Liebman
Fabled Films Press 4/19/2016
232 pages Ages 8—12
“A flabbergastifying adventure under the stars!
“In The Mysterious Abductions, the animals form a brigade of the night after a random encounter with a blood-thirsty snake, and just in time because something is threatening their night realm. Animals are disappearing without a trace. Together with the help of a wombat, a band of coyotes and many others, Dawn, Tobin and Bismark journey to the depths of the earth in wacky, high stakes game that will determine all of their survival.” [back cover]
The Nocturnal Brigade guard the night, ready to “confront the dangers that lurk in the shadows.” Comprised of three nocturnal animals—Tobin, a good-natured pangolin; Bismark, a romantic sugar glider; and Dawn, a wise red fox—the brigade find themselves in the middle of a mystery almost immediately.
Animals are waking up to find relatives missing, without a trace. Despite trusting their instincts, aggressively tracking down clues, and joining forces with the coyotes, the brigade is running out of time. A small jerboa named Jerry has tricked the entire group. He and Bismark are gone and it becomes clear Jerry is working for the unknown villains. Where have all the animals gone and who or what makes them leave?
The answer is unexpected and highly entertaining. The humor begins early. Bismark, the short statured sugar glider thinks he is a romantic Frenchman. He uses French phrases, mostly when speaking to or about Dawn. He talks tough but finds reasons to stay out of a tiff; has a fragile ego needing reassurance when teased by wombats; and is the only animal finding joy in his captivity.
“Dawn, can you gaze upon my face without the image of a blood-sucking rodent entering your mind?”
Dawn is a strategic red fox and the defacto leader of the Nocturnal Brigade. She is the one who enlists the coyotes’ help. The coyotes had been investigating the missing animals for some time, marking missing animals like hieroglyphics in their cave. Dawn never falls for Bismark’s romantic words or gestures. Ciro, the coyote leader, is the reason why. He and Dawn have a history and seem to be renewing their love as the story progresses.
Tobin is a sweet natured pangolin, but when it comes time to fight, his main defense is to roll into a tight ball. Pangolins can actually roll away rather quickly, if need be. What they cannot do is spray a noxious odor when frightened, nor do they eat pomelos. (Pangolins eat insects, mainly ants and termites.) The preface sets up the story, explaining how the trio met and became the Nocturnal Brigade. In a series of this length, the meeting and joining of forces is Chapter 1. Where the story is set—I’m still unclear—with more description and in-depth introductions could have permanently set The Nocturnals in my mind’s eye.
Boys and girls will love The Mysterious Abductions. Dawn is a strong female lead. Her relationship, past and present, is the one thread left hanging at story’s end. I, along with Bismark, are anxious to see where this odd-couple are headed and from where they came. Kids will enjoy the humor, which gets better as the story progresses. I cannot tell many of the exciting highlights without spoiling the story for readers. Let me say, readers will be amused and delighted with these far-from-home villains. The basis for the head villain’s actions is soft, but kids will find it amusing.
The Nocturnals is an ambitiously planned 10-book series. If The Mysterious Abductions is any indication of what is to follow, The Nocturnals should do very well. The writing is strong, the characters well developed (save Tobin), and the plot takes interesting twists toward a fun, unexpected resolution. Family and friendship, and loyalty and love are clear themes that will most likely continue throughout the series. There are many adventures ahead for Tobin, Bismark, and Dawn; nocturnal superheroes extraordinaire.
The Mysterious Abductions (The Nocturnals, Book 1) is Tracey Hecht’s debut children’s book.
Next Up: Book 2: The Ominous Eye (September 20, 2016) and Book 3: The Fallen Star (January 10, 2017)
THE MYSTERIOUS ABDUCTIONS (THE NOCTURNALS BOOK 1). Text copyright © 2016 by Tracey Hecht. Illustrations copyright © 2016 by Kate Liebman. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Fabled Films Press, New York, NY.
Tracey Hecht: https://www.nocturnalsworld.com/
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Kate Liebman: https://www.nocturnalsworld.com/
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THE MYSTERIOUS ABDUCTIONS (THE NOCTURNALS #1). Illustrations © 2016 by Kate Liebman. Used by permission of Fabled Films Press.
The Mysterious Abductions (The Nocturnals, Book z1), paperback edition
Copyright © 2016 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved
Full Disclosure: The Mysterious Abductions (The Nocturnals, Book 1) by Tracey Hecht & Kate Liebman, and received from Fabled Films Press, is in exchange NOT for a positive review, but for an HONEST review. The opinions expressed are my own and no one else’s. 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.”