By: Norah McClintock
Publisher: Darby Creek Publishing
Publication Date: April 2012
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: April 2012
Robyn "Robbie" Hunter was hanging around with her two best friends, Morgan and Billy, when she spotted Nick. She found him "inherently fascinating" but her parents didn't. Robbie's father, Mac, owned his own private investigation company and her mother, Patricia, was a criminal lawyer. They wern't crazy about her going out with Nick N'Angelo because he was the bad boy type. He'd "been in trouble for most of his life" and was living in Somerset, a group home. Her mother had even represented him in juvie court once, but what did her parents know about love? Heck, they were divorced and Robbie was being shuttled between the two of them.
Robbie was drawn to Nick because he looked "like a tough guy, dressed all in black," and was "tall for sixteen, and lean." She was almost sixteen, responsible for the most part, got great grades, but still got grounded now and then. When she was at her dad's he was always preoccupied with work. This weekend it was about some guy named Carmine Doig. There had been a stable fire and five horses died. Things were looking pretty shady when all of a sudden the insurance adjuster conveniently committed suicide. Her father and his partner, Vern, were checking out that case when all of a sudden they had another one.
Carl Hanover needed their help to look for his stepdaughter, Trisha Carnegie. The cops were giving him the runaround because she'd taken off before. He was desperate to find her, but no one at school cared about her because she was so bizarre and psycho. Robbie felt really guilty because she felt like she had a hand in this one. Just before Trisha took off she snarled at her, "Maybe if you weren't so weird, people would care, but they don't." She had to at least try to find her and deliver a mysterious letter from her dying mother. It wasn't going to be easy because Trisha's friends were even more psycho than she was. Robbie stepped out of her safety zone into the dark and all she saw "was an enormous, shadowy shape" heading in her direction...
Robbie, who is definitely her father's daughter, can't help but become involved in investigating a case, especially when she feels she may have caused the disappearance of the girl they are desperately searching for. Things unexpectedly take a turn for the worse when Robbie ends up in the middle of things, things that could threaten her very existence. This new mystery series undoubtedly will be a popular one. The characters are well-rounded and the plot filled with intrigue, parent angst, and just the right touch of forbidden love. Robbie is a self-assured young woman, a young PI who has a lot to learn, but will definitely be a detective to watch out for!
Quill says: This subtle, smooth mystery will captivate young mystery buffs.