Chupacabra follows up shortly from where Tentacles left off: Grace “willingly” going with Noah Blackwood. By now we know Noah is plenty evil. He is as happy conducting kidnappings as he is killing animals in the prime of their life to have them stuffed for his private collection. And Noah’s interests do not just stop at regular animals. Nor do they stop at simply putting these creatures on display. This madman is obsessed with control; to save Grace from his clutches, Marty will have to get past Noah’s Chupacabra.
Wolfe is ready to make a plan and go in to get Grace back. Marty is right there along with him, although less with the making a plan part. Not willing to leave Grace in Noah’s clutches, Marty and Luther quickly infiltrate Noah’s compound. Along with them is Dylan, the protagonist of Roland Smith’s book Sasquatch (first referenced in Cryptid Hunters). All three boys bring different skills to their team and are hilariously skilled at running circles around Noah’s henchmen. And of course, Grace is not one to just sit idle as a prisoner in Noah’s mansion.
The setting for this book felt better than the previous two. Most of the first book took place in the jungle, which was neat but not terribly distinctive. Then we had an adventure on a ship, which literally left the characters with limited space. This time around, our protagonists are in the enemy’s lair. Noah’s zoo, with his mansion next to it and a secret underground mad science lab underneath, was a fantastic setting. This also does wonders for Noah’s character development, making him darker and more of a true villain.
This time around we get a bit more action and adventure than the previous books. Being in the bad guy’s lair, there is potentially danger around every corner for our heroes. The whole story takes place in about a day, so the time frame makes this adventure more fast-paced. It makes Chupacabra feel a bit longer even though the page count is in the Young Adult age range. The extra action-adventure makes this feel like the high point of the Marty and Grace books. So far, anyway; the fourth and final book could turn out even better than this one. We will find out soon as the story concludes!