Max is not a run of the mill middle school kid. On some nights and weekends he does his own show as the world’s most famous escape artist. Handcuffs, straight jackets, shackles, locked boxes…Max is an expert lock picker and can get out of all kinds of traps, even while submerged underwater. He even knows how to swallow a key…and then bring it back up on command. Ick. But impressive.
Max learned everything from his Dad, who is now dead. Max’s mother is in prison for killing his father. Max knows she’s innocent, but in the two years since her trial nothing has come of her appeal. The day a mysterious stranger appears offering information about the circumstances of his Dad’s death, Max is immediately interested. He arrives at the agreed upon rendezvous point only to discover the mysterious stranger dead.
Obviously there are people keeping secrets, people who don’t want Max finding out anything; people who don’t want Max or anyone else asking uncomfortable questions. But Max has had enough. During his weekly prison visits he has watched his Mom slowly lose weight and lose hope. Max is ready to take action and ask questions later. When the bad guys decide to shut him up and lock him up, they just don’t know who they’re dealing with. Author: Paul Adam
More undercover kids who take on bad guys with kid skills. Sometimes being a kid is a great cover. People just don’t expect much. Their loss.
Hector Fitzbaudly leads a privileged life. He lives in a mansion with his father, wears stylish, expensive clothes and goes to the best school. He and his father are free to spend as much time and money as they wish on their magnificent butterfly collection.
One night, Hector’s father receives a mysterious guest…and from that night forward Hector’s life begins to unravel. The mysterious man knows something about Hector’s father. Hector’s father is willing to pay a steep price to keep the man quiet.
The stress of the secret extracts an even bigger price when Hector’s father drops dead from a heart attack and leaves Hector to deal with the fact that their fortune is actually gone. Turned out into the street, Hector sets off on his own. He has nothing…except a burning desire for revenge against the mysterious one-eyed guest that Hector blames for his father’s death and for the loss of his father’s fortune. The one-eyed man might be smart, he might be devious, he might have a sinister plan, but Hector is smart too. He can be devious. He can come up with a plan.
Hector follows the one-eyed man to the home of Lady Mandible. Lady Mandible hires Hector to live at the mansion and raise butterflies, giving Hector the opportunity to sneak around at night hoping to find out more about the one-eyed man. Hector discovers some unsavory information about “Lady” Mandible. She collects all kinds of gruesome art and she paints some pictures herself…with blood!
Creepy enough for you? How about this: her guest, the one-eyed man, well, he collects eyeballs. Glass ones, but still…eyeballs. If you like the deliciously macabre (that means shockingly offensive), then you’ll love reading about Lady Mandible. She’s Cruella DeVil without the puppies, and she’ll stop at nothing to get exactly what she wants.
Hector gets quite a dose of sinister and has to decide what to do with his desire for revenge. Should he play the same game as Lady Mandible and the Eyeball Collector…or is there a sweeter revenge? Author: F.E. Higgins
The Eyeball Collector is a gothic story. That means the mood of it is dark and gloomy; very mysterious with strange events and people. F.E. Higgins wrote The Black Book of Secrets and The Bone Magician & The Eyeball Collector. These are not sequels of each other..but characters and places are shared between all the books. If you like them, try The Wolves of Willoughby Chase or The House With the Clock in its Walls. But read early. With the lights on.
Another great mystery in the series The Boy Sherlock Holmes. Still stung by having Inspector Lestrade and Scotland Yard take credit for his sleuthing, young Sherlock is determined to find another case to make his name as a great detective.
When a beautiful rich girl vanishes in broad daylight without a trace…no witnesses…no ransom note…no nothing, Sherlock knows this is the case that will prove his worth. The problem? Where to start. After 2 1/2 months of waiting a ransom note is finally delivered to the girl’s family and revealed by Inspector Lestrade, a note Sherlock scrutinizes from afar. When Lestrade holds the note up, the sun shines through the paper. Sherlock notices a faint watermark on the paper – this is his first clue. (A watermark is a picture or logo impressed on paper when the paper is made. It is very faint, in fact, you can’t see it until the paper is held up to the light. The watermark lets the buyer know who manufactured the paper.)
As usual Lestrade is none to happy to have Sherlock around. To make things really interesting, Lestrade’s son becomes Sherlock’s reluctant ally and Irene Doyle remains Sherlock’s reluctant friend. Sherlock still can’t find the nerve to apologize to her and continues to believe that he is better off without her as an ally, a sleuthing partner, or a friend. Like Mr. Incredible, he works alone. Sometimes, geniuses can be really dumb! Author: Shane Peacock
Kari and Lucas from The Mystery of the Third Lucretia are back for another international mystery. This time they are in Scotland where Kari’s Mom has an assignment interviewing a teen prodigy – a touring pianist all of 15 years old.
Kari and Lucas are excited to meet the famous Seneca Crane. Yes, she’s beautiful. Yes, she’s talented. Yes she’s traveled all over the world…but Seneca turns out to be just a normal kid who happens to have mad piano skills.
Seneca reveals the disciplined life she leads and how difficult it is to trade a normal kid life for life touring the world playing music with and for grown-ups. Seneca is frustrated with her overprotective Mom, her strict tutor and her new Stepfather. The three of them barely let Seneca out of their sight. Kari and Lucas make it their job to show Seneca what regular teens do and convince Seneca’s Mom to let them take Seneca sightseeing around Edinburgh. The three friends have a great time together and look forward to more Scottish adventures after Seneca’s concert performance.
After the concert, everyone waits outside Seneca’s dressing room but she doesn’t appear. A search of the room reveals a ransom note – Seneca doesn’t need rescued anymore from her overprotective Mother…she needs rescued from kidnappers!
Kari and Lucas are on the case in their signature clue-busting style. They are resourceful, gutsy and determined. They rely on their sharp memories and their keen powers of deduction to sort out the clues and get on the trail of the kidnappers. I can’t wait for Book #3 Adventure at Simba Hill which will come out next. Simba Hill takes place in Africa. Author: Susan Runholt
Miranda is in the sixth grade and lives in an apartment building in New York City. The school year is moving along pretty much like any other until the Friday Miranda comes home from school and discovers her apartment door unlocked…and the spare key missing from its secret hiding spot. Miranda’s mom is immediately concerned and has the lock on the door changed.
On Monday, Miranda discovers a note hidden in her backpack:
M, This is hard. Harder than I expected, even with your help. But I have been practicing, and my preparations go well, I am coming to save your friend’s life, and my own. I ask two favors. First, you must write me a letter. Second, please remember to mention the location of your house key. The trip is a difficult one. I will not be myself when I reach you.
If the spare key was stolen on Friday, why would someone ask where it was hidden on Monday? It’s already gone. Weird. As Miranda’s mom says, “Someone with the key wouldn’t have to ask where the key is. It makes no sense.”
What’s weirder is Miranda keeps fiinding more notes, and the second one starts out “Miranda” not “M,” so the notes are definately for her. The writer of the notes knows things no one else should know. And then the notes start to mention things that haven’t happened…yet. When the notes start to predict what happens later, that’s when things start to get really interesting.
This story is a puzzle. It’s the kind of story you want to read again to catch how all the puzzle pieces fit together. The author had me really guessing until the very end. Author: Rebecca Stead 2010 Newbery Medal Winner