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A Kiwi Whodunnit

Book Review
Search for a Kiwi Killer by Des Hunt (Torea Press, $18)
Reviewed by Nikki Slade Robinson

des-hunt-cover2We live in a region with kiwi, weka, forestry, hunting, pig dogs and pet dogs.

So does Tom, the main character in Des Hunt’s newest book Search for a Kiwi Killer. But the story is not set in our region (though it easily could be). It’s set in Kerikeri, Northland.

Tom’s first claim to fame is tackling a wild pig on the forecourt of the local petrol station.  When he and his dad release the pig back into the bush, Tom discovers a dead kiwi. Killed by a pig? Closer examination shows the kiwi had been the victim of a dog attack. There’s a dog somewhere out there, killing the kiwi.

Things get a little trickier when Tom finds an injured dog in the forest. Before long, he has bonded well and truly with this dog, now called Buffy. He also gets to know another local dog, Harvey, who belongs to the rather wealthy Mrs Hopwood. Either dog could be the kiwi killer. Tom doesn’t want to lose Buffy, and he knows Mrs Hopwood couldn’t bear to lose Harvey.

Tom also learns that someone in the area is using imported GPS tracking collars on dogs. Collars with batteries that are likely to explode, potentially injuring the dog; collars that interfere with the forestry radio communication network.

Not wanting to see any more kiwi OR dogs harmed, he sets to work hoping to find the dog responsible for so many kiwi deaths. What follows is a gripping adventure that is very difficult to put down!

It’s wonderful that NZ kids can read such well-written books set here rather than somewhere overseas. There’s plenty of technology, science, and environmental information woven into the story – Des Hunt used to be a science teacher. This would be a great addition to any school library, public library, or best of all the bookshelf in any kiwi kid’s bedroom! Highly recommended junior fiction.  And if you haven’t read any of his previous titles, now’s good! Visit www.deshunt.com for more information.