Wednesday, September 6, 2017

REVIEW: Kitty Hawk and the Hunt for Hemingway's Ghost by Iain Reading

Kitty Hawk and the Hunt for Hemingway's Ghost
Author: Iain Reading
Series: Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency #2
Genre: Mystery/Adventure

I received a copy of this book from the author and Book Publicity Services in exchange for an honest review.

My Ratings:
2/5 stars
PG-13 for mild swearing throughout.
Recommend to readers looking for realistic, history-heavy adventure stories. Also for armchair adventurers and fans of strong heroines and little to no romance.

Summary (via Goodreads)
Kitty Hawk and the Hunt for Hemingway's Ghost is the exciting second installment in a new series of adventure mystery stories that are one part travel, one part history and five parts adventure. This second book in the series continues the adventures of Kitty Hawk, an intrepid teenage pilot who has decided to follow in the footsteps of her hero Amelia Earhart and make an epic flight around the entire world. After flying across North America Kitty's journey takes her down south to Florida where she plans to get a bit of rest and relaxation before continuing on with the rest of her long and grueling flight. As Kitty explores the strange and magical water world of the Florida Keys her knack for getting herself into precarious situations sweeps her headlong into the adventure of a lifetime involving mysterious lights, ancient shipwrecks, razor-toothed barracudas and even a sighting of the great Ernest Hemingway himself. This exhilarating story will have armchair explorers and amateur detectives alike anxiously following every twist and turn as they are swept across the landscape and history of the Florida Keys all the way from Key West to the strange and remarkable world of Fort Jefferson and the Dry Tortugas.

The Review:

The sequel to Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold did not grab me like its predecessor did. While it has more of a mystery angle than the first one, it lacks the same kind of compelling characters that really pulled me into that story. While Kitty does stumble into a mystery, she didn't have any personal connections to it or befriend anyone who had personal connections to it or who is even affected by it, so the lack of stakes made it hard to care about the outcome.

Reading is great at giving his readers in-depth descriptions of locales and working in the important events, figures, and history that call them home, complete with a factual guide in back of the book. It provides a sense of place and makes for good armchair adventuring, but it also slows down the story and pulls attention away from the characters and plot tension. There is quite a bit of info-dumping, too; whenever Kitty needs to know something, there always seems to be someone on hand to teach her the section of history she needs in its entirety (in this book, that's the life of Ernest Hemingway and Spanish Treasure Fleets).

Kitty is still spunky as ever and just setting flight on her Amelia Earhart-inspired flight around the world. As a heroine, Kitty has a lot of great qualities for younger readers to look up to. She's determined, knows how to pluck up her courage in dangerous situations, and when she figures out what she wants and she goes for it. She's a strong character and -in Nancy Drew fashion- a little too nosy for her own good. Aside from the mild swearing, this series would make a great read for tweens -full of adventure, fascinating historical details about shipwrecks and lost treasures, and a tough and confident role model in Kitty.

Despite lost treasure ships and some high-flying action from Kitty and her trusty De Havilland Beaver, this book was not a win for me. It simply didn't have the same draw character- or plot-wise as the first one. However, there were just enough references about the compelling characters from Curse of the Yukon Gold that I'm holding out hope they'll still pop back in later on in the series, so I'll probably read on to see that happens.

What good mysteries have you read lately?


  1. As much as I like good setting descriptions all the info-dumping would have make me DNF this book! Things We Lost in the Fire, Big Little Lies and Speak are the best mysteries I've read lately :) OMG SPEAK! I think you'd love that one Amanda!

    1. That's funny, I've had a friend tell me about Speak recently. I can't wait to read your review for it!

    2. The review is on the blog already. I hope you read it next time you visit :) For some reason I think you'd love that book :)

  2. Actually I'm surprised this has swearing at all, given the target audience, even if it is mild. And I've seen these before, they look kinda fun, although yeah the info dumping is not so good. The treasure hunting/ shipwreck angle sounds fun. Hopefully the next one is better!

    1. I'll cross my fingers.
      The swearing surprised me too, but the main character is 19, so I think it's intended for an older teen audience.
      Anything with treasure hunting and shipwrecks sounds fun! ^_^