Panic in Puerto Vallarta


171 pages
ISBN 1-55027-015-8
DDC j813'.54




Reviewed by Terri L. Lyons

Terri L. Lyons is an elementary-school librarian, who also teaches in
the Distance Education Department and specializes in readers’ advisory
services at Mohawk College.


Konstantina Cassandra (a.k.a. K.C.) Flanagan is an “almost”
15-year-old who uses travel journals to record her adventures solving
mysteries. Her parents, divorced and with new partners, share custody of
her and her brother Rudy (“an almost 18 year old”). When they are
not traveling with their parents—their father an international lawyer
and their mother an artist—the siblings live in Montreal.

In Panic in Puerto Vallarta, K.C., or “Kook Case” as her brother
calls her, witnesses a murder. No one believes her story so she proceeds
to solve the mystery herself. K.C. is a curious mix—part insecure but
appealing teenager, part hard-boiled detective. Her dialogue, a
combination of Sam Spade, Nancy Drew, and Sabrina, is often
unintentionally humorous and certainly unbelievable. By the end of the
novel, K.C. has tracked down the murderer, the head of a drug-smuggling
ring. There is a final, violent showdown between the good guys and the
bad guys.

A corrupt Mexican politician in Panic in Puerto Vallarta provides the
link to Chaos in Cancun. Unfortunately, Senor Colon’s presence on the
small island of Mujeres is implausible. Some of the plotting, though, is
quite good. Both novels are reasonably suspenseful, and the relationship
between K.C. and her brother Rudy is well handled. The treatment of her
first crush in Chaos in Cancun is evocative and realistic. This second
novel shows some improvement in the writing. Recommended with


Murray, Susan, and Robert Davies., “Panic in Puerto Vallarta,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 29, 2024,