Author: Dr. Cecil H. H. Mills
Publisher: Permuted Press
Publication Date: March 10th, 2020
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Check them out: Game Grumps
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Purchase the Book: Amazon
Amazon Product Description:
“Listen up, kid. My name is Dr. Cecil H.H. Mills. I’m the author of this book and many other ones that you might not have heard of. This book is about two idiot wannabe detective-types. Their names are J.J. and Valentine Watts, but I’m not sure if they’re actually brothers or not.
They make a friend; her name is Trudi de la Rosa. She’s a wannabe detective-type too, but honestly, she’s less of an idiot than the brothers.
The three of them team up to solve a mystery that takes place in a snowy chateau up in the mountains. It gets more complicated around chapter 11, but now you’ve got the main gist of it. The story’s full of intrigue and adventure and puzzles and light violence and some swear words. It’s really entertaining.
Just buy the book and start reading. You’ll understand everything about the Ghost Hunters Adventure Club very soon.”
This is the first book from the Game Grumps. As someone who has been a fan of Game Grumps for as long as I can remember, I knew I had to check this out as soon as it was announced. The book was written by Arin Hanson’s “uncle” Dr. Cecil H. H. Mills, and I think we all know what that means.
The book itself is a parody of old young adult mystery novels such as the Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew. It follows these two brothers who want to be detective/ghost hunters, but they always seem to end up in trouble. The book starts out by making you think it might be serious, with the exception of the author’s note at the very beginning, but quickly embraces the comedy that would be expected of a Game Grumps product.
The writing was actually very well done, I wasn’t sure what level of writing to expect going into this but I really enjoyed what was here. It was descriptive and told a story well, but at the same time it utilized humor to drive home the fact that this was a tale to be enjoyed frivolously. I hadn’t read an old-school mystery book like those mentioned above in a very long time, but humor aside the author did a great job of capturing what made those books so much fun to read. It feels like the book version of Saturday morning cartoons.
From a story perspective I was actually very impressed with the how engaging the story was. It seems to be hard to integrate humor into a book while keep a serious storyline at the same time, but here it was done well and never felt forced. They struck a cord with the writing that felt believable and felt like something you might hear teenagers, especially brothers, actually say to each other. The dialogue between characters was one of the strongest parts of the book. It wasn’t the most elaborate example of dialogue but it all felt so natural and flowed well between the characters in a way that gave each of them their own voice in a unique way.
On to the characters. The characters in this book never ceased to delight. Each one was given such vivid description and motivation that it never left me feeling like any of them fell flat. Even the characters you aren’t supposed to like are given humorous aspects that still had me laughing as the pages turned. The girl that they meet and become partners with, Trudi, was a highlight of the story for me. She could very easily have been relegated to a side character who was brushed off by our main two boys, or used for laughs, but she was treated with just as much care as J.J. and Valentine. She was a strong female character who kept the two of them, namely J.J., in their places.
I would be remiss not to mention another shining character of this story. The author himself. Dr. Cecil H.H. Mills is a character in his own right. Other than the introduction, there is an interlude in the middle of the book where he speaks directly to the reader. It seems like such a simple way to create a connection with the reader and explain parts of the story while injecting a stream of comedy, but I really appreciated what it meant for the book. It really creates a unique type of storytelling that goes beyond the simple parody I expected to get when picking this one up. The use of the author as an omnipresent being for the two boys was spectacular and I really do hope to see more from the Game Grumps. I think they really do have something special with this type of book.
This book would be great for children as well as adults. From a purely story perspective the book is aimed at children, closely mirroring it’s Hardy Boys roots. The things that will keep it interesting for adults though are the writing and and humor that hit above the reading level. The Game Grumps brand humor is woven throughout the book in a way that boosted the writing much higher than I imagined it could have been when I went into it.
As always, thanks so much for reading! If you liked this review or are interested in the book let me know in the comments below or reach out to me on Twitter. Check back for new posts (at least) every Wednesday and Saturday, or sign-up via email to make sure you never miss anything new!