Cameron Macintosh (text), Dave Atze (illus.), Film Strip (Max Booth Future Sleuth #4), Big Sky Publishing, July 2019, 130pp., $12.99 (pbk), ISBN 9781922265104
In this episode of Max Booth Super Sleuth, set in 2424, Max and his trusty beagle-bot Oscar are given an old twentieth century film roll canister, found in the storerooms of the museum where they live. They have wonderful adventures on the ground, rather than in their usual Skyburb home, trying to work out what it is, to solve how to find out what (if any) images are on the film, and avoid the acquisitive clutches of the Bluggsville East Photographic Society members. There’s great information on the history of photographs within the story and two added pages at the end of the book giving extra detail. Max and Oscar have some interesting, sometimes smelly, adventures on their way to success and the return of the film to the museum.
Though this is the fourth book in the series, I hadn’t read any of the previous ones, and understood all the contexts of the story and the main characters. Macintosh has added enough background information for the new reader to be hooked but not repeated so much that the returning reader is bored. Max, the protagonist, often gives the reader the context as an aside, rather than it being added as an explanation.
The word count is controlled so the books are aimed at reluctant readers, but advanced readers will be enticed by the fast-paced storyline.
Reviewed by Maureen Mann
Read about Cameron’s process writing the series here.