Meg Langslow’s brother Rob has created a popular online game called Lawyers from Hell. In Crouching Buzzard, Leaping Loon by Donna Andrews, Meg has agreed to assist Rob at his office while she is unable to do her blacksmith work due to an injury to her hand. This office is inhabited by many crazy programmers, hence the word “loon” found in the title. In addition to the human employees, the office contains a resident buzzard with only one wing who was rescued by someone of Mutant Wizards, the name of the company. Then there are Spike, the 9-pound vicious furball of a dog, along with the 8 or 9 nice dogs of employees who travel in a pack all over the office. And speaking of traveling, there is an automatic mail cart that moves on its own all over the office.
Ted, one of the most odious men in the office, has been having fun riding around on the cart pretending to be a murder victim, complete with fake blood, until Meg realizes that he is no longer faking his death. Ted has been strangled with a mouse cord!
Crouching Buzzard, Leaping Loon follows the investigation of the police chief, who focuses on Rob based upon a blackmail note seeming to be written by Ted and found in Rob’s office. So to save her brother, Meg becomes forced to do her own investigation.
The book is full of humor along with a fascinating plot line. Andrews is a really gifted writer in being creative both with her mystery lines and her incredible humor. The titles of each of the books in this series, this being the fourth, refer to birds, the first book being called Murder with Peacocks. But Crouching Buzzard, Leaping Loon, a take-off of the acclaimed movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, begins Andrews’s pattern of using birds in puns for her titles. What I find remarkable is the way that with a total of 19 books in the series and 16 titles using bird puns, Andrews manages to make each bird relevant to the book. With this book, the buzzard lives in the office, and the loons work there.
This is the first of the books in this series to be available in audio format. It seems strange to me that the publishers of the audio books do not offer the first three books in audio and offer books 4 and 5, along with 14-19, skipping books 6-13, though Owl’s Well that Ends Well, book six, will be released in October. This lack is all the more disappointing given the excellent narration of Bernadette Dunne. With the book written in first person, the choice of narrator is particularly important, as the narrator must portray Meg and not just read about her, and Dunne does a great job of being very believable in her role.
In all, Crouching Buzzard, Leaping Loon is a very fun read or listen, enjoyable to anyone, whether that person has any knowledge of the video game world or has never gone near a computer in her or his life. I give this a hearty five stars!
Crouching Buzzard, Leaping Loon is available now. To order from Amazon, click the link in the title.