Book Review: The Secret Abyss by Darrell Pitt

Book Review: The Secret Abyss by Darrell PittThe Secret Abyss by Darrell Pitt
Series: Jack Mason Adventures #2
Also in this series: The Firebird Mystery, The Broken Sun
on 2014-06-25
Pages: 304
Jack, Scarlet and Mr Doyle return for their next action-packed adventure. When the world's deadliest assassin, the Chameleon, escapes from prison, Jack begins his most dangerous investigation yet. With only the scantest of clues, the team travels from London to New York, a bustling metropolis filled with airships, steam cars and exciting new ideas. Here they uncover a terrible plot that threatens the president's life and brings the nation to the brink of civil war. Can Jack track down the Chameleon in time? And just what is the mysterious whip of fire that has the power to wreak destruction across the world?

The Secret Abyss (book 2 in Darrell Pitt’s The Jack Mason Adventures series) is exciting, fun, almost absurd at times and inventive. But if I were to describe it in one word that word would be surprising. Much like in The Firebird Mystery, there is always something happening and most of the time it isn’t something readers would expect. But the constant action and non-stop adventure is part of why I enjoyed reading The Secret Abyss so much.

Jack Mason is still working as Mr Doyle’s assistant along with Scarlet Bell. Life with Ignatius Doyle, consulting detective, is never boring with their cases seeming to find them. When a childhood friend of Jack’s arriving on the doorstep of 221 Bee Street, the team find themselves involved in a transcontinental mystery concerning a threat on the President of the United States of America. Airships, international men of intrigue and disguise, a tarantula named Bertha and inventive yet horrifying weapons – this book never has a dull moment.

Jack and his team face danger around every corner and the fact they managed to survive the opening chapters is amazing. Their luck when it comes to surviving death defying situations is incredible but it adds to the charm of this series. I don’t think I have ever read a novel where the main characters face this much peril in a single book and because of this – The Secret Abyss is an exciting page turning read.

This book is a lot of fun but there is a more serious side as well. The evil doers in this book are not afraid to cause devastation if it helps their cause. I admired Pitt’s writing when it came to balancing the characters and the story. These people are not just black and white but rather more developed than I first realized.

With a bunch of new supporting characters, I loved seeing how Jack and Scarlet evolved as they survive being Mr Doyle’s assistants. I was also delighted to see that Scarlet is just as much a Brinkie Buckerridge fan as ever (or should that be Bonnie Bottlewasher? I do hope Darrell Pitt gives us a chapter or two of Brinkie’s novels!) and she is still a modern woman in old fashioned times. Mr Doyle maintains his eccentric behaviour (just where does his never ending supply of coat cheese come from?) whilst keeping his witticisms. Hearing snippets of his previous cases are both absurd yet fascinating.

If you liked The Firebird Mystery – I think you’d love The Secret Abyss. It has all the action and near escapes of book one with an extra layer as the characters grow more fully into their roles. This is a charming series I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to middle grade readers but also older readers who enjoy fast paced non-stop adventure novels.

Thanks to Text Publishing for the review copy


  1. I like pretty much every book Text ever publishes, so I’m more than willing to give these books a go. I never read enough MG, and I really DO love the genre. And I’m all for fun and absurd books. Nothing wrong with a bit of absurdity (I mean, one of my favourite books is Alice in Wonderland).

    • I’ve only just finished reading Alice in Wonderland for the first time ever!
      And whilst this book is lovely with the absurd – it’s a different kind. I was marking each page when Jack or the gang was in mortal peril but I ran out of sticky flags! 😛
      Also, this book doesn’t have the problem I’ve run into before with MG by reading too young. This book never once made me feel like an old impostor for reading it. It was a fun read. 🙂

  2. Coat cheese! I absolutely adore Mr Doyle, he reminds me so much of an eccentric Johnny Depp character, and a cross between Willy Wonka and The Mad Hatter. He’s deliciously weird. This series is incredibly fun, I couldn’t agree more. I’ve actually got a copy of this one and need to start it soon. It’s just too nonsensical not to. Is that even a word?

    It is now 🙂 Brilliant review Kate, loved it <3

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.