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Bera the One-Headed Troll by Eric Orchard
Blackbird Fly by Erin Entrada Kelly
Blue Highways by William Least Heat-Moon
Borrowed Crime by Laurie Cass
Dark Days by James Ponti
Death at Victoria Dock by Kerry Greenwood
The Detective's Assistant by Kate Hannigan
Doctor Who: The Roots of Evil by Philip Reeve
The Flying Beaver Brothers and the Crazy Critter Race by Maxwell Eaton III
For Today I Am a Boy by Kim Fu
Fred and Ted's Road Trip by Peter Eastman
Free Fall by David Wiesner
The Geek Feminist Revolution by Kameron Hurley
Ghostbusters: Get Real by Erik Burnham
Gone Crazy in Alabama by Rita Williams-Garcia
Hip Hop Family Tree, Vol. 3: 1983-1984 by Ed Piskor
The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman
Lowriders to the Center of the Earth by Cathy Camper
The Master of Jalna by Mazo de la Roche
Murder on the Ballarat Train by Kerry Greenwood
Nothing Up My Sleeve by Diana López
Pete the Cat and His Magic Sunglasses by Kimberly and James Dean
The Pharos Gate by Nick Bantock
Retribution Falls by Chris Wooding
The River by Alessandro Sanna
Six Kids and a Stuffed Cat by Gary Paulsen
The Sleepover by Jen Malone
Threadbare by Monica Ferris
To Catch a Cheat by Varian Johnson
Underground Airlines by Ben H. Winters

Miscellaneous
Diversity report for September 2016

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Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

My Kind of Mystery Reading Challenge 2017 February - January 2017-8



Lowriders to the Center of the Earth: 09/08/16

Lowriders to the Center of the Earth by Cathy Camper

Lowriders to the Center of the Earth by Cathy Camper with illustrations by Raúl the Third is the sequel to Lowriders in Space. Lupe, el Chavo, and Eliro go on a road trip in search of their missing cat, Genie after an earthquake shakes things up.

In terms of the modern day road trip — post industrial revolution — an earthquake can signal the beginning of an urban fantasy adventure. While the title implies a Jules Verne inspired adventure, this one is more akin to Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz (the one where a California earthquakes leads Dorothy to an underground method to entering Oz).

But this is a Chicano road trip and the imagery is straight out of Mexican folklore. In that regard, the story brings to mind The Book of Life, though with a very different underworld — one that has been corrupted by a god too consumed for his love of bones.

Page showing the journey through the maize maze

The way to the underworld, though, lies at the other end of a corn maze (or maize maze as one of the characters quips). And this inclusion of corn as supernatural gate keeper brings me right back to Bone Gap by Laura Ruby. In the sub-genre of the "road not taken" corn has become a stand in for the enchanted forest of the old tales of traveling through Faerie where one must stay on the path to avoid becoming lost and forever trapped. Corn, though, is both a sentinel and prison. It is more of an active participant than any of the enchanted woods, and it's something I need to investigate further.

Another delightful detail to this adventure is the inclusion of La Llorena. Now normally she is not someone you want to stop for along the road. She certainly wasn't in the pilot episode of Supernatural. But these three heroes are so focused on their missing cat that they give her a ride with no worries beyond her incessant crying and her desire to cuddle el Chavo like he's a baby. Her inclusion is a necessary trope that is delightfully turned on its head at the conclusion of the their adventure. She despite her feline appearance, is the shaggy dog of this road trip.

Five stars

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