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By Kevin Brooks

Age Range: 10 - 12

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-78112-116-0
Publisher: Stoke Books

This unvarnished, all-action, hi-lo lit features a would-be PI who is largely, but not entirely, clueless.

Would-be sleuth Johnny allows himself to be hired against his libido-clouded judgment by a pair of teen hotties to find out whether bad-news punk Lee Kirk is seeing a certain “ugly little bitch.” He quickly discovers that he’s been set up to take the rap for the bloody murder of a gang leader. Happily, Johnny turns out to have more allies than enemies in the run-down housing project where he lives with his mother. Writing in short chapters of simply phrased staccato prose, Brooks propels his amateur detective past an unlikely escape from pursuing police to a rooftop climax that ends with a likely opening for sequels. Narrator Johnny has a knack for noir phrasing that’s abetted by his naïveté: “The problem is this. The Most Beautiful Girl in the World was sitting on my bed, and The Second Most Beautiful Girl in the World was sitting next to her. And they were both wearing very tight clothes. That was the problem.”

Another violent, mean-streets caper along the lines of Kissing the Rain (2004), but at about one-quarter the page count, catering more to reluctant readers than avid ones.

(Mystery. 10-12)