Source: Sherman Publications

Millstream
More suspense as adventure continues

by Wendi Reardon

October 17, 2012

Fans of The Secret Zoo are excited about book four, Traps and Specters, which was released at the end of September.

They will finally see the Shadowist as the Action Scouts, Noah, Megan, Ritchie and Ella, continue to work with the secret society to protect the Secret Zoo.

"When I go to the schools they ask when are we going to see him," said author Bryan Chick, a Independence Township resident. "Noah does come face to face with him in this book. The Shadowist is a creepy guy."

Traps and Specters continues where book three, Riddles and Dangers, left off.

Without giving too much away, Chick said the newest adventure for the Action Scouts is longer and has more suspense.

A reason for the suspense is the Shadowist starts moving on Noah's neighborhood and heís spotted.

"We are at the point the nemesis, the Shadowist, is more visible," said Chick. "Noah, the scouts, their animal friends and his human companions are forced to deal with his threat. The big thrill is the scouts, the animals and people working to stop the Shadowist."

Fans of the series can expect their favorite characters to develop more.

A new group is introduced in book four called the Specters. It is a group of six girls with unique powers and they are a subgroup of the Descenders.

Chick added there are also new animals - a platypus, chameleons and a few others important to the Specters.

New sectors of the Secret Zoo are explored by the Action Scouts and introduced to the reader.

"They are basically the zoo exhibits but on a larger and more magical scale," Chick smiled. "The kids are always anxious to see the new places the scouts go. I always want to add more and go back to others. I knew there would be new sectors just because zoos have different exhibits. I took what I thought was the neatest parts of exhibits and put them in sectors."

Besides exploring new areas of the zoo, some of the story takes place in Noah's neighborhood as the animals go loose in the neighborhood. Clarkville Elementary, the school in the neighborhood, is also a key piece.

He noted kids from the Clarkston area might notice something from their school.

"The only thing specific they might notice is the playground equipment," he said. "The school is a average school with large media center and a gym/stage area like Independence Elementary has."

Both are important elements for a battle scene which takes place with the Shadowist.

"It was really fun to write," he said. "I felt like the kid inside of me was going to work more so than the other books. A lot of that is through the general process of writing being more in touch with my inner child. Also just seeing the kids, seeing what they like and remembering what is was like at their age. They live in a funny, goofy world that adults donít see. It was fun to write the story for that."

Traps and Specters is on sale now online at Amazon.com and local bookstores.

Great Turtle Toys, off Sashabaw Road, has all four books in The Secret Zoo series for sale.

Chick is having a book signing at Great Turtle Toys on Saturday, Nov. 17, 1- 3 p.m.

Chick is visiting several Clarkston elementary schools. In celebration of the release of Traps and Specters, Chick is offering a limited number of free school assemblies to local schools.

For more information, please call 248-705-3619 or email at bryan.chick@comcast.net.

"One thing I like about Secret Zoo is it bounces between the two worlds," said Chick. "What I like about fantasies you can come out of the world. Not just the scouts in Secret Zoo but those from the Secret Zoo are in our world. It is fun to bounce back like that."