The Phantom of OZ
A mixture of humor, history, psychology, and self-reflection, Phantom of OZ is a murder mystery with a heaping dose of self-help on the side.
As I read the first chapter, I was a bit skeptical - a seance does not sound like an interesting topic to read for this reader. But the seance was quickly dropped and moved on to the disappearance of the best friend of Ivy Meadows, the primary antagonist. A friendly ghost does make an appearance - but she is more like Casper than Morley.
I enjoyed the way the author wove the theater into the story - though it was more figuratively than literal. Chapter titles are drawn from Gaston Leroux’s The Phantom of the Opera. The story centers on the cast members performing a remake of The Wizard of OZ set in outer space. Many of the expected characters are there, though they are somewhat creepier - and at least one of them is a murderer. And then there is the kidnapping. Ivy Meadows and her new friends are willing to put their own lives on the line to solve the puzzle and save the life of Candace Moon.
In the midst of all this, the author weaves a secondary story focusing on the issues of body image, anorexia nervosa, and bulimia. The story explores the roots of these diseases and approaches needed for their care. At the same time, the author recognizes that solutions are not easy and not always certain. These themes are addressed simply but clearly, helping those not familiar with the underlying issues to better understand the lives of those struggling with their self-image and their dietary decisions.
The Phantom of OZ is a fun read and a good contribution to the Ivy Meadows series coming from the author. For the reader looking for some lighter reading providing some insight to some darker issues, Phantom might be a good choice for a weekends reading.
This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions are mine alone.