Welcome to STICKY PINES where things just get weirder by the minute. This debut book by Californian author Dashe Roberts is definitely one of my favourite books of the year. It was actually published in February 2020 by Nosy Crow so it might have already slipped by some potential readers. It is a fantastically creative story with a brilliant UFO/Sci-fi narrative. The Bigwoof Conspiracy is an encounter of the weird kind which has both a transatlantic feel and setting to go with it.
With a click of the old camera and the flash of the night sky, the narrative starts at a rather sedate pace but ends up as a supernatural thriller. There has been a second disappearance in Sticky Pines. Beloved candy-store owner, Mandy Millepoids, has been reported missing. At this point, you find yourself in one of the craziest and most silly adventures you will read this year. It's creepy and yet so funny that it made me laugh out loud. I found myself racing through the pages to uncover the ongoing mystery.
Lucy Sladen and Milo Fisher are an epic pair of characters who investigate the unexplained sightings and disappearances. Lucy is bold, brave and obsessed with UFO'S whilst Milo is very secretive and loves taking photos in the nearby woods. He often gets dragged along with Lucy's investigations - quite often against his will - but they always stick together. This relationship weaves a memorable thread through the story filled with fun and playful banter.
This is such a great novel for anyone to read as it's pure fantasy escapism. It is certainly something that we could all do with at this difficult time. The levels of bizarreness increase as events unfold and mysteries become unravelled. The best part of the book, without giving too much away, was the Carnival (chapter nine) called Banana Drama. This was pure fantasy gold - it was very well written and cleverly put together. I have not read anything as good as this for some time.
For me, this book ticks all the boxes. It is an example of why I love reading children's books. The narrative was not too complicated, very funny (definitely strange) and incorporated a number of classic sci-fi TV shows into it. The story leads you towards some timely banana skins. As you slip and slide through the plotline, there are some great sticky twists and turns. The Villians become bolder and daring which adds to the drama. In fact, it all becomes rather messy in places but I found that very pleasing.
Sometimes the ending of a book can let it down, however, this one was not one of those endings. The author does tie up all the loose ends to eventually satisfy the reader. However, at this point, I felt very sad knowing that I had finished the most entertaining book that I've read this year. Fortunately, I did notice that there will be another book THE THING AT BLACK HOLE LAKE which will be published in September 2020 - if all things still go to plan. I hope so as I know that I can't wait to read it.