A drop-dead-gorgeous heroine, evil dudes with guns and a perilous race through the streets of New York City make for a page-turning read.
When sassy, streetwise runaway Wally (née Valentina) Stoneman’s fake ID is lost as a result of the brutal murder of a friend, she comes face to face with the mystery of her lost Russian heritage, her missing mother and priceless jewels that have ruthless thugs chasing her up and down the streets of Manhattan. Richter is a screenwriter, and the pages of his first novel for teens turn quickly. Readers will feel as though they are watching a fast-paced action movie, with its multitude of daring escapes, witty one-liners, touch of passion and slew of dead bodies. The characterizations feel more stereotypical than original, but it works. Readers will recognize many of them: the beautiful heroine, the do-gooder cop, the bad boy, the slimy murderer and his sidekick. Action takes precedence over literary quality, but the chase sequences are so slickly written that readers will most likely not notice the novel's staccato sentence structure and wooden dialogue, or they'll forgive it anyway. What they will notice is Richter’s scenically keen sense of New York City geography as Wally and her cadre race back from Coney Island to SoHo to the Upper West Side fleeing for their lives.
Full of thrills and screaming for a sequel. (Thriller. 14 & up)