Archive for the 'Mystery' Category



You Have Seven Messages by Stewart Lewis

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Genre:  Realistic Fiction/Mystery

# of Pages:  289

RAC:  Yes

     Luna and her family are struggling to deal with the unexpected death of her mother.  A year after she was hit and killed by a taxi, Luna goes to her mother’s studio and finds her cell phone with seven unheard messages.  As Luna slowly listens to the messages she begins to learn things she never suspected about her mother.  Could it be possible that her mother’s death was not an accident?  Is there information her father is not sharing with her?

     The book lives up to its title in that there is information to be learned from the seven messages, but Luna does not linger too long on them and instead moves on to finding out more.  The relationship with her neighbor seems a bit tiresome at times, but Luna’s relationship with her father and brother are rich and help establish their home life before their mother’s death.  The ending is satisfying, but there is no surprise that the reader won’t predict early on.  Fans of Lipstick Apology will enjoy this title.

The Silence of Murder by Dandi Daley Mackall

Genre:  Mystery

# of Pages:  323

RAC Book:  Yes

Hope has a tough home life, but she never fails to look after her mute, autistic brother, Jeremy.  Her life turns upside down when Jeremy is accused of murdering the high school baseball coach with his bat.  She has T.J., her best friend, and Chase, the sheriff’s son she secretly has a crush on, to help her prove Jeremy’s innocence.  The evidence against Jeremy is overwhelming and he is not speaking to help explain what happened. Meanwhile, their neglectful mother obviously believes her son is guilty.   Can Hope prove her brother is innocent without pushing everyone away? Can she come to terms with the situation if he is in fact guilty?

This mystery has many great elements that will keep readers interested. First of all, there are many surprising plot developments revealed as Hope investigates what happened that fateful morning. The empty jars Jeremy collects provide a unique and interesting way of understanding Jeremy and of helping Hope learn what really happened to the coach. There are also many great characters with multiple dimensions and motivations including Jeremy’s lawyer, Chase, TJ, and Jeremy.   The truth is in front of the reader the whole time, but Hope has to put the pieces together. Overall, a good mystery.

Out of Sight, Out of Time by Ally Carter

Genre:  Mystery

# of Pages:  294

RAC Book:  Yes

Cammie Morgan is back in this Gallagher Girls book and this time she has no memory of where she spent her summer. She wakes up in a remote convent and must find her way back to her family and friends who have been looking for her for months. As Cammie begins to piece together what happened to her she realizes that she may have chosen to forget what she learned because the truth was too hard to deal with. Will she ever get answers as to why the Order is chasing her? Will she ever find out what happened to her father?

Cammie does learn some answers in this book, but these are revealed to her along with the reader as she retraces her steps. It is fun for the reader to learn Cammie’s past along with her. The characters all seem to develop further in this book, which is impressive because it is not terribly long. There are also a few fun surprises that fans of the series will love.

Through Her Eyes by Jennifer Archer

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  377

RAC Book:  Yes

Tansy moves around a lot with her mother and grandfather because her mother is a horror author who needs to feel inspired by her surroundings.  This time they are headed to a small town in Texas where her grandfather grew up.  Her mother even rented out a house that is believed to be haunted by the ghost of a seventeen-year-old boy who committed suicide on the premises many years before.  Tansy does not get too wrapped up in these legends because she is used to it with her mother’s stories, but she does notice a few odd things at this new house.  Her suspicions are further heightened when she looks through the lens of her camera and sees a teenage boy staring back at her.  Can she find out what happened to him all those years ago?  Can she find acceptance in a town that never has newcomers?

Mystery readers will enjoy the intrigue of this ghost tale.  The way Tansy is able to interact with the ghost is very interesting and unique compared to other similar stories.  Some of the details will feel obvious to readers, but they will still find the delivery of the clues captivating.  Tansy’s feelings about moving and insecurities about starting a new school will resonate with other teenagers.  Overall, a very exciting mystery read.

Ultraviolet by R.J. Anderson

Genre:  Fantasy/Mystery

# of Pages:  306

RAC:  Yes

Alison wakes up in a psychiatric facility with no memory of how she got there.  She has always had the special ability to see colors and taste words, but her mother always told her to hide this for fear of mental illness.  A new doctor tells Alison he believes she has synesthesia, which means she has a heightened sense of all five senses and is considered a real medical condition.  She learns she confessed to killing a friend, but the body has not been recovered and she has no recollection of actually killing her.  As her new doctor tries to help her, Alison comes to find out there is a lot she does not know about him.  Can she ever find out what happened to her friend?  Can she ever prove she is not a danger to society so that she can be free again?

The beginning of this story grabs the reader right from page one.  The story takes many unexpected twists and turns and the eventual explanation of what happened to Alison’s friend will take many readers by surprise.  The synesthesia is an unusual condition that will intrigue readers since it is a real condition that does not signify mental illness.  Fans of mystery, fantasy, and realistic fiction will all find themselves engrossed in this captivating story.

Forgotten by Cat Patrick

Genre:  Romance/Realistic Fiction/Mystery

# of Pages:  288

RAC Book:  Yes

London suffered a traumatic incident when she was a child and as a result lost her long term memory.  She must keep notes of everything because when she goes to sleep her memory is erased and she forgets everything when she wakes up.  She does have “flashforwards” that allow her to retrieve memories from the future.  She meets a new boy at school and immediately feels a connection, but she has no memory of him in her future.  London begins having one recurring vision that terrifies her, especially when she realizes it is actually a memory from her past and not her future.  In order to understand her future she must face the past that was so painful her parents decided not to remind her once she had lost her memory.  Meanwhile, she must decide if she can trust this new boy or if he is just going to hurt her when he learns the truth about her memory issues.

Stories with characters blocking out painful memories is not new, but this story definitely puts a new twist on it.  The reader gets to put the pieces together right along with London to find out what happened to her that caused her memory to rewire itself and also as the clues slowly come out regarding London’s mysterious vision.  The story has many twists and turns and more overall character development than it first appears.  Recommended for mystery or reluctant readers.

Maximum Security by Robert Muchamore

Genre:  Mystery/Spy

# of Pages:  302

RAC Book:  Yes

In this third installment of the CHERUB series, James is sent undercover into a prison to befriend a young murderer who has a famous weapons dealer for a mother.  The idea is that James and another agent will break the unsuspecting inmate out of jail in exchange for fake ID’s from his mother after they break out.  The FBI have been chasing this weapons dealer for decades and haven’t even seen a picture of her for years.  James never backs down from a challenge, but life in prison is nothing like he’s ever experienced before.  Can he keep it together to pull off this very difficult mission?

Fans of this series will not be disappointed in this third book.  This is James’s most difficult mission yet and there are several times where he almost gets killed.  His sister, Lauren, is with him on the mission after having recently completed her training and is a great addition to the team.  The action and suspense are written so that most readers will have difficulty putting it down.  The ending is satisfying and does not feel rushed.  Recommended for young readers who like spy books.

Between by Jessica Warman

Genre:  Realistic Fiction/Mystery

# of Pages:  454

RAC Book:  Yes

Elizabeth Valchar wakes up to find her own dead body, but she can’t remember anything before she died.  As she watches her friends and family move on from the tragedy she realizes that her life was not as perfect as everyone thought it was.  She had already suffered the loss of her mother at a very young age, and of her father’s hasty remarriage afterward.  She did truly love her boyfriend, Richie, which is why it’s so hard to see him suffer after her death.  She has a ghostly companion in Alex, a boy in her high school who died a year before Elizabeth.  He was very unpopular and people did not react to his death the way they do hers, which makes for an uncomfortable situation.  Can Elizabeth find out what happened to her so that she can be free?

This story grabs readers right from the beginning because there is so much that Elizabeth does not know.  The more she remembers about the months before she died the more confusing it gets.  She is surrounded by a bunch of questionable characters who could either be on her side or working against her.  Her circle of friends is particularly mysterious as they appear vapid, but some of them know more than they are saying.  Fans of The Everafter, Elsewhere, and Thirteen Reasons Why will enjoy this book, but there are some heavy issues discussed.

Look Again by Lisa Scottoline

Genre:  Mystery

# of Pages:  341

RAC Book:  Yes

Ellen is a reporter who is shocked to see a picture of her son’s face on a missing child flier.  She had adopted him two years ago when he was a very sick one year old.  The adoption papers appeared to be legal, but she couldn’t shake the feeling that something was wrong.  After doing some investigating, Ellen begins to see that the pieces of her child’s past simply do not fit.  However, she has no proof that her son was unlawfully taken from his birth parents.  Does she keep quiet for fear of losing her son?  Can she live without knowing the truth about her son’s true lineage?

This thrilling mystery moves quickly from the first page, but the last third of the book really keeps the reader engaged.  Ellen’s actions are understandable and justified as she tries to find answers.  The author wrote Ellen’s emotional turmoil at the thought of losing her son in a way that anyone can understand, but especially parents.  There are a few twists and turns that make this story different from other child abduction mysteries.  Fans of mystery writers such as Harlan Coben and Mary Higgins Clark will love this story.

I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore

Genre:  Fantasy

# of Pages:  440

RAC Book:  Yes

John came here when his planet was destroyed.  Eight others came with him and were separated to keep them safe.  There was a spell placed on them so that they must die in a particular order, but John knows that the three before him have been found and killed.  Therefore, he must move with his guardian to a new place, with a new identity, and extra precautions.  He is the next one to be targeted by those who wish to destroy his people.  At his new school he meets Sarah who seems different than other girls he has ever met.  Can he risk getting too close to her when his life is in jeopardy and his future on this planet is uncertain?  Can he act like a normal teenager when so much is at stake?

This fast paced novel keeps the reader interested from the first page.  There are some lighter parts as well as more action packed sections that balance the story and make it seem plausible in some way.  The characters are engaging and their actions are believable.  Fans of fantasy will enjoy the threat from other worlds, but realistic readers will enjoy the action and suspense.  Overall, a fun read.

The Last Thing I Remember by Andrew Klavan

Genre:  Action/Mystery

# of Pages:  346

2011-2012 High School Award Winner

RAC:  Yes

High school student Charlie West wakes up in a prison cell where he is being tortured for information.  Charlie has a difficult time understanding why he is in this situation because he cannot remember anything since he went to bed in his own house.  As he begins to put the pieces together he realizes that there is a lot of stuff he does not remember, but he does know he is currently in danger.  Can he escape in order to find out where the last year of his life went?  Can he find out why he is being tortured?

This story is full of action and suspense right from page one.  Any reader will not be able to help getting pulled into the story because the story is so compelling right from the beginning.  Where is Charlie?  What do they want from him?  Who can he go to for help?  The plot twists are surprising and yet believable.  Fans of espionage novels such as the Bourne trilogy, the Cherub series, or the Sleeper Code will love this book.

The Deadly Sister by Eliot Schrefer

Genre:  Realistic Fiction/Mystery

# of Pages:  310

RAC Book:  Yes

Abby has always looked out for her sister, Maya, but one day when Abby is running and finds the murdered body of Maya’s boyfriend things get a little complicated.  Abby is especially disturbed to find Maya’s cell phone near the body.  She immediately begins thinking of ways that she can either find the real killer or cover it up so that her sister does not get into trouble.  The more she investigates into her wild sister’s life of running away, drug use, and relationships with shady characters, the more Abby realizes that everyone will believe Maya committed this crime.  Does she believe Maya committed this crime?  Can she find a way to keep her sister out of jail?

This mystery will keep a lot of readers guessing all the way until the true killer is revealed.  Abby’s actions often go above and beyond to try and find ways to help Maya, and some readers might question what she is truly willing to do in order to protect her sister.  The family dynamic of the two girls and their parents is complicated and difficult, which makes this tragedy harder for them to deal with and comprehend.  There are some hard truths in this mystery and none of the characters are angels by any means, which makes it difficult for the reader to decide who they are rooting for.  The story is intriguing and will keep mystery lovers reading to the very final reveal.

The Devil’s Breath by David Gilman

Genre:  Adventure/Mystery

# of Pages:  389

RAC:  Yes

Max Gordon is attacked by an assassin one day at his private school and barely escapes with his life.  Then, he finds out his father has gone missing where he is working in Africa.  Max feels his father may have discovered something in his work that has put both of them in danger so he sets out to rescue him.  Along the way, he meets with further danger, both man made and nature made.  He is greeted in Africa by a young pilot who helped get him the last known message from his father.  She introduces him to a young bushman who wants to help him see his journey through.  Can Max survive such difficult terrain and exterior threats to learn the truth about his father’s disappearance?

This story is fast paced, energetic, and unpredictable.  Max’s journey has so many obstacles and dangers that it almost seems impossible that he could ever survive.  The plot is very intricate and takes some unusual turns that readers will not have seen before.  The introduction of the bushmen culture was done very well and will help inform young readers about this group of people.  This is one that sat on my “to read” list for awhile and I wish I had gotten to it sooner because many readers will enjoy this, but especially boys.  Readers who enjoy espionage books or adventure stories like Klass’s Firestorm will devour this book and want more.

 

 

 

Cherub: The Dealer by Robert Muchamore

Genre:  Realistic Fiction/Spy Novel

# of Pages:  308

RAC Book:  Yes

James is back in this sequel as a twelve year old secret agent in CHERUB.  He begins the story by failing a training exercise and must face some rigorous training in order to earn some respect back from his fellow agents.  When he is asked to join a mission with three other teens he is eager and ready to go again.  Their mission is to befriend the children of a notorious drug dealer.  He ends up making friends with Junior, the boy his own age, pretty quickly and becomes one of the best inside informants.  As the others try to find information on the drug ring itself, James is offered the chance to deliver cocaine for cash.  He takes the opportunity to try and learn more about the inner workings of the organization, but quickly wonders if he has gotten in over his head.  Can James and his friends escape this mission unscathed?

This sequel is every bit as fun and exciting as the first.  James’ mission is dangerous, exciting, and believable as an important mission for any country to be focusing so many prime resources on.  The book is fast paced and the facts are revealed in a timely manner.  Fans of spy books such as The Sleeper Code will enjoy this title.

Heat Wave by Richard Castle

Genre:  Mystery

# of Pages:  198

RAC Book:  Yes

Nikki Heat is an NYPD detective investigating a murder of a man dropped from a six story balcony.  She is less than thrilled when she is forced to allow a writer to shadow her for background research, despite his obvious enthusiasm for her work.  Jameson Rook travels with her to crime scenes, interrogations, and autopsies so that he can gain enough insight into Nikki’s squad that he can write an article about them.  He always promises to stay out of the way, but has a knack for finding his way into trouble.  As Nikki tries to solve the murder further incidents try to distract her from her mission including a personal attack in her home, an attack on a witness, and a major theft.  Can Nikki sort through the many clues to find the truth about what happened?  Can she do it while Rook is standing by her side?

This book is based on the character’s of ABC hit series Castle. The book closely resembles the characters in the show they are meant to be based on and make it a fun read for fans of the show.  The mystery itself is complex, but not convoluted.  The clues reveal themselves in a timely manner and the outcome is satisfying.  The backdrop of NYC in the midst of a heat wave is an interesting setting for the story and the extreme heat does affect their investigation from time to time.  All in all, a fun mystery story for fans of writers like Mary Higgins Clark and Agatha Christie.



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