Aha! The Bloodwater Mysteries

I love a good mystery — one with just enough clues to keep you guessing as you go along, until you reach the end and it all suddenly — aha! —  falls together.  And it doesn’t hurt to have some fast-paced chases and a few scary moments thrown in as well.  Here’s a fairly new mystery series that is just right for kids moving into slightly bigger chapter books.

Snatched (Bloodwater Mysteries #1), by Pete Hautman and Mary Logue (lexile: 610; AR book level: 4.1; 200 pp)

Roni Delicata and Brian Bain are partners … sort of.  Roni is the pushy investigative reporter for her high school newspaper, The Bloodwater Pump, and Brian a freshman science geek.  They meet outside the principal’s office, where Roni’s ended up for being too pushy, and Brian for a science experiment gone awry (his hydrogen sulfide generator fills the school with smelly gas).  They’re opposites in personality, but come together when a new student, Alicia Camden, is kidnapped, and they’re determined to figure out who did it.  Could it be Alicia’s stepfather?  Or her ex-boyfriend?  Or Driftwood Doug, the strange man who lives on Wolf Spider Island and seems to have a connection to the mansion where Alicia’s family lives?  There are plenty of clues along the way, with twists and turns in the plot, and a few narrow escapes.  If you’re very clever you may figure it out before Brian and Roni do. (I didn’t!)

If you like fast-paced mystery, but are ready to move to something a little more adventurous and involved than Jigsaw Jones, The Bloodwater Mysteries are a great choice.  The chapters are short and the stories move quickly, but the characters are well-developed and the interaction between unlikely partners Roni and Brian is funny.

There are only three titles in the series.  My favorite is the second one, Skullduggery — it involves cave exploration, a possibly ancient archaeological find, and a professor who is knocked unconscious to keep him from revealing what he’s discovered.  The third is Doppelganger — Roni and Brian find themselves on the trail of a long-lost kidnapped child — who may in fact be Brian!

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