Patrick's Reviews > The Boy Detective Fails

The Boy Detective Fails by Joe Meno
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Apr 22, 08

bookshelves: 2008
Read in April, 2008

Wow, this was great. It is kind of like a darker companion to "Confessions of a Teen Sleuth" by Chelsea Cain, which was a humorous account of Nancy Drew's life story, as told by her. This one is a thirty-year-old Encyclopedia Brown type named Billy Argo, just released from a decade stint in a psychiatric hospital following a breakdown after his younger sister's suicide. The tone is melancholy and surreal, almost like the comic and violent Edward Gorey, and uses subtly outdated 1950's-era language which was funny and added to the idea of this being a continuation of the hero's earlier adventures (the book starts at chapter 33 or something). The heavily medicated Boy Detective, back in reality and unsure of himself, runs into old friends and enemies, including his arch-rival, the nefarious Professor Von Golum (who lives in Billy's group home and he keeps seeing on the bus. Awkward.), whose plans to kill Billy keep going unfulfilled due to his senility and grandpa-like tendency to fall asleep. Billy also tries to break up an all-star villains of crime convention that is straight out of "The Tick." Eventually, he develops a crush on a pick-pocket who only steals pink things, befriends some unpopular children, and half-heartedly tries to solve the mystery of his own past, present, and future, and it's all really just funny and sad and hopeful at the same time. Highly recommended.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Alicia I'm glad you enjoyed this. It's one of my favorites that I've read in the last year or so! It really captured something for me about acceptance and growth.


Patrick Yeah, I realized I was gonna like it at the very beginning when it's reviewing all the newspaper headlines from the cases they solved as children, funny stuff.


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