*** The Battle of the Labyrinth, Rick Riordan, 2008
Shockingly, this is the first Rick Riordan book I've reviewed here. Shocking, because I'm a major fan since running across a copy of The Last King of Texas in a Honolulu bookstore. I'm particularly a fan of the Tres Navarre PI books. But more about that when I finally read Rebel Island.
The Battle of the Labyrinth is book 4 in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. Rick was a middle-school English teacher before his writing consumed so much of his time that he had to leave it behind. A teacher-of-the-year kind of English teacher. Back in 2005 I had the pleasure of attending a half-day session Rick did for the Writers League of Texas on how to write a whodunit. It was apparent in a matter of minutes that he was indeed a teacher-of-the-year kind of guy. And a read of any Percy Jackson book makes it clear that Rick knows his audience.
I won't go into the details of the plot of this or the other PJatO books. Just know that if you like this sort of thing (young adult book of fantasy, magic, mythology, etc.) you will love Percy Jackson. The first movie is scheduled to release in 2010.