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Danger in Dinosaur Valley, Screech Owls Series

by Roy MacGregor

The 10th title in Roy MacGregor’s Screech Owls series finds the adventurous team of young hockey stars in the Badlands of Alberta for a winter tournament. A warm chinook has made the weather in Drumheller feel like summer, but that’s hardly the strangest thing the team has experienced since arriving. One of their members is swearing up and down that he’s just been chased by a real – and very terrifying – dinosaur!

Using his tried-and-true method of weaving on-ice action, snappy dialogue, and a clever, unpredictable plot, MacGregor has once again come up with a winning mystery as a sequel to earlier series titles like The Quebec City Crisis and Nightmare in Nagano. This one features a truly odious bad guy – motivational psychologist Kelly Block – plus a team of diligent RCMP detectives, and of course, a whole host of terrifying (and possibly still living?) dinosaurs like the Albertosaurus and Deinonychus.

Never one to rely solely on hockey elements to carry the story, MacGregor has done his research here, into such areas as the archeological history of dinosaurs, polygraph tests, and the field of sports psychology. All these details come together in a realistic setting and plot development.

It’s only natural that the climactic scene where good triumphs over evil should play out on the hockey rink, but MacGregor resists the temptation to go over the top with a sports-as-moral-proving-ground narrative. Instead he supplies a nice split-screen conclusion to both the tournament’s final game and the mystery of the prehistoric predator. In all, an excellent read for both young sports fans and avid mystery buffs.