For readers seeking a thrill of adventure from the safety of the nearest comfortable chair, the following new books are just the ticket.
BRENNAN, Herbie. The Secret Prophecy. Balzer and Bray. 2012. 9780062071804. JLG Level: MM : Mystery/Adventure Middle & HS (Grades 7–11).
Just when he seems to be recovering, Em is shocked when his father dies. His ordinary life goes out of control when strangers with guns attend the funeral. His father’s office is ransacked, but a search reveals that nothing of value is missing. Em overhears his mother say his father was murdered, but who would murder a university professor? And why? In Paris, a narrow escape with his friend Charlotte builds his suspicions. After his mom is surprisingly institutionalized, she confirms that his life is in danger. Was his dad really murdered for a discovered secret prophecy? If Em doesn’t know anything about it, why is his own life in danger?
Not since Snape pushed Dumbledore out of the tower has an adventure taken so many surprising turns. Readers won’t want to miss this tale of international intrigue that reads like a James Bond film.
LANE, Andrew. Black Ice: Sherlock Holmes, The Legend Begins. Farrar. 2013. 9780374387693. JLG Level: MM : Mystery/Adventure Middle & HS (Grades 7–11).
Visiting his brother in London was supposed to be a bit of a holiday―especially after surviving a harrowing adventure in America. Stumbling right into a mystery, Holmes must find a way to prove his brother, Mycroft, is not the murderer that the evidence seems to indicate. Feral children, underground London, and an attack falcon keep the pace moving, but the motive is unrevealed. Fearing that Holmes could be taken hostage, Mycroft takes his brother (and Crane, Holmes’s tutor) in disguise to Russia. Along the way, the future detective learns to use theatrical disguises, continues to draw inferences on observations, and take steps toward becoming a world famous crime solver. What is Mycroft hiding? Can his brother save him from hanging?
Lane’s work is the first teen series endorsed by the Arthur Conan Doyle Estate. Black Ice is Book Three of Holmes’s journey from teenager to adult.
LAWRENCE, Caroline. P. K. Pinkerton and the Petrified Man. Putnam. 2013. 9780399256349. JLG Level: C+ : Advanced Readers (Grades 6–9).
Finally realizing his dream, 12-year-old Pinkerton opens a detective agency in the silver mining town of Virginia City, NV. Told in flashbacks (as P. K. is in jail for murder), the young detective’s naïve voice keeps the drama and roughness of the Old West from seeming too harsh. He finally gets his first real case when former slave Martha’s boss is murdered. The frightened girl fears for her life, as she witnessed the crime. But P. K. has no time to waste, since his own life is in danger as he and his card shark pal try to read faces and actions to solve the mystery. Run-ins with journalist Samuel Clemens (who actually worked in Virginia City) and other slivers of history blend with the action for an irrestible Wild West adventure.
Cliffhanging chapters and a touch of humor move the plot along. Volume two in the series, readers will want to backtrack and find out how the crime fighter got enough cash to start his business.
SHEINKIN, Steve. Lincoln’s Grave Robbers. Scholastic. 2012. 9780545405720. JLG Level: NM : Nonfiction Middle & HS (Grades 5-8).
In the days after Lincoln was president, counterfeiting was a huge problem. Who were the men who investigated and captured the criminals? The Secret Service. It took the assassination of three presidents before the Secret Service’s responsibilities became the safety of the highest governmental official. In 1876, master counterfeiter Benjamin Boyd is in prison, which has caused a rippling effect in the “coney,” or fake money, business. An extraordinary plan is hatched: kidnap President Lincoln for ransom and the release of their leader. The problem? They’ll have to steal his corpse from the cemetery and hide it without being caught.
Sheinkin’s (Bomb, 2012) latest nonfiction narrative is written like a true crime thriller. Readers get an historical view of a crime that was doomed from its inception and the less-than-perfect attempt by the Secret Service to prevent it.
For these and other fabulous books for teens, search Junior Library Guild.
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