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Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 11/01/2005 Gr 5-9-This sequel to Running with the Reservoir Pups, with a marvelously over-the-top plot and likable, down-to-earth main characters, resembles a well-crafted PG romp like Spy Kids. Eddie, of Belfast, Northern Ireland, dreams of leading a gang more fearsome than the Mafia, but so far has only one "follower," his friend Mo, "leader" (in her own mind) of the nonexistent Andytown Albinos. He despises his mother's new boyfriend, but his greatest traumas involve avoiding members of a rival gang and starting at a new school that requires students to wear unattractive uniforms. The author is not at all concerned with political correctness: "Eddie was wearing his bright purple blazer. He looked like an idiot. A big girl idiot." Life becomes more complicated with the appearance of Pat, an orphan who witnessed the theft of the martyred Oliver Plunkett's head from St. Peter's church. Feeling guilty because he didn't stop the crime, he's convinced that he will go to Hell if it isn't returned before the Pope's impending visit. Plot turns worthy of an adult thriller keep the pages turning, and Bateman's light touch keeps the violence from seeming as frightening as it otherwise might. Secondary characters play notable roles, ranging from a dastardly Bishop and an unscrupulous reporter to a heroic crossing guard and Eddie's bomb-making classmate. A first-rate achievement, and a truly comic novel with a plot that never lets up.-Coop Renner, Hillside Elementary, El Paso, TX Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information. - Copyright 2005 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Bulletin for the Center... - 03/01/2006 Pat is in the wrong place at the wrong time—playing in St. Peter’s church in Drogheda, Ireland, one rainy evening—when thieves come to steal the mummified head of St. Oliver Plunkett. Convinced that he will go to Hell if he doesn’t find the head and return it, he follows clues to Belfast, where he joins up with Mo and Eddie, our heroes from Running with the Reservoir Pups (BCCB 1/05). Eddie is still plotting for world domination, but his steps are dogged by the Reservoir Pups, who force him to undertake a mission that gets him entangled with the son of Scarface Cutler, the most vicious criminal in all of Ireland. By a fortunate coincidence, Scarface has in fact stolen the head, and Eddie uses his friendship with Ivan, Scarface’s son, and his newly formed acquaintance with a kid who likes to blow things up to hatch a plan to gain access to Scarface’s compound and retrieve the head. Bateman’s flair for comic action and breathless suspense shines here; he weaves both overstated and understated hilarity throughout the murder of a harmless old priest, a genuine miracle that evolves from a ghoulish Frankensteinian experiment, some twisted revenge on a teacher who fully deserves it, and a visit from the pope himself. Though the book is especially good at getting inside the heads of boys to reveal the ambiguous motivations and dynamics of boy-boy interaction with its nuanced body language and subtle power plays, this is no touchy-feely psychological drama. Cinematic action, droll narration, and imaginative plotting guarantee wide and varied readerly appeal. - Copyright 2006 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
Booklist - 10/15/2005 Eddie Malone, first seen in Running with the Reservoir Pups (2004), is back in this second book of a projected trilogy. Eddie, now 12, is being sent against his will to a posh private school in Belfast. In addition to Eddie's well-portrayed troubles at school and his growing crush on his friend Mo, a savvy, sarcastic albino girl, Bateman adds a plot involving two orphans who witness the theft of the preserved head of an Irish martyr and try to reclaim the relic. Gangsters and other loopy adults (sex-starved parents, sadistic teachers, evil newspaper reporters) abound, as do evil children, who are trying to thwart the no name gang of three. There's nothing subtle here, and much that is specifically Irish and Catholic, but readers already familiar with Eddie will enjoy Bateman's wry humor, nutty characters, and swift-moving plot. The many references for readers new to the series make for a somewhat slow start, but the story quickly builds to a swift pace and wild finale. - Copyright 2005 Booklist.