March 20, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Pick of the Day: Randi Rhodes, Ninja Detective: The Case of the Time-Capsule Bandit | Audio

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Randi RhodesSpencer, Octavia. Randi Rhodes, Ninja Detective: The Case of the Time-Capsule Bandit. 4 CDs. 4.25 hours. S & S Audio. 2013. $19.99. ISBN 9781470363369. digital download.
Gr 4-7–Actress Spencer’s debut novel (S & S, 2013) is everything a middle-grade mystery should be: fast-paced, packed with interesting characters, and sprinkled with just enough clues that listeners can piece together the solution alongside the main characters. The additions of a haunted cabin in the woods, a loose skunk, a couple of fake secret service agents, and some expert ninja moves don’t hurt either. The story centers around 12-year-old Randi, who has been solving crimes in her Brooklyn neighborhood since her mother died more than a year ago. But when her suspense-writer father moves the family from bustling New York to sleepy Deer Creek, Tennessee, Randi fears her sleuthing days are behind her. All that changes when the town’s 200-year-old time capsule is stolen right before the annual Founder’s Day celebration. Randi teams up with martial arts enthusiast D.C. and fellow Deer Creek newcomer Pudge to crack the case and return the capsule. Spencer narrates herself, and her New York, Boston, Japanese, and Southern accents help listeners distinguish between the characters. Her enthusiasm and intimate knowledge of her characters really makes them come to life. Readers and listeners will be anxious to see what is next for Randi, D.C., and Pudge and will eagerly await the book’s planned sequel.–Anne Bozievich, Friendship Elementary School, Glen Rock, PA