Dial, Oct 2008, $16.99
High school junior Horatio Wilkes attends the annual Highland Fair near Pigeon Forge, Tennessee at the invitation of his friend Joe Mackenzie; his family is major participants every year. Fortune teller Madame Hecate informs Mac that he will be king of the mountain and his cousin Wallace Banks will own Mount Birnam. Joe’s college girlfriend Beth Weigle is excited while Horatio is cynical.
Horatio sees booth employee Megan Sternwood and is attracted to her. When her uncle asks him to watch over her, he is excited because he has a reason to meet her. However, Horatio has a different issue when he enters a tent to find the Highland Fair owner Duncan MacRae murdered. Unable to resist Horatio investigates not realizing the passion some have for this mountain and the danger the clues will lead to.
Although the amateur sleuth whodunit starts a bit late (almost halfway into the book), young adult readers will enjoy the plot due to the cynical mouthy hero who is caustic towards almost everyone at the Fair; surprisingly he didn’t get his face rearranged. The story line is fun to follow even more so when the murder occurs as fans will feel they attend the Tennessee Highland Fair. Some profanity seems inappropriate even if much of the targeted audience uses the words and it fit the moment but that may be this reviewer’s ancient outlook. SOMETHING WICKED is an apt title just don’t wear kilts near the wickedly sarcastic Horatio unless your thick skinned or a bruiser.