Find out the latest indie author news. For FREE.

Formats
Hardcover Book Details
  • 10/2019
  • 9780578558776
  • 202 pages
  • $21.99
Paperback Book Details
  • 10/2019
  • 9780578582153
  • 228 pages
  • $9.99
Patricia Hass
Author
The Shockoe Slip Gang: A Mystery
Twelve year-old Sally Corbett and her younger brother Andrew's bucolic summer routine in Richmond, Virginia is shattered when thieves steal a collection of antique colonial era toys, some owned by the Founding Fathers, believed to have been used to communicate coded messages between spies in secret from the British before the American Revolution.
Reviews
In this exciting middle grade mystery, writer and editor Hass follows two siblings and their friend as they solve a major crime. It’s a hot summer in Richmond, Va., where 12-year-old Sally Corbett and her 11-year-old brother, Andrew, are still mourning their father a year after his death. They manage their own lawn and pet care business to help support the family; their mother, Cary, has just been named head curator at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. When some antique toys are stolen from an exhibit Cary is putting together, she fears she could be fired by Mr. Calhoun, the museum’s grouchy executive director. Sally and Andrew decide to search for the missing toys. At the start of their investigation, they befriend fellow tween Henry Morrison, whose resourcefulness and determination help them crack the case.

Corson’s breezy, black-and-white sketches are pleasing, but they don’t always accurately reflect the text. Fortunately, they do an excellent job of showing Sally, Andrew, and Henry’s bravery, especially when they find an unconscious man and save his life. Readers will also admire the children’s maturity as they quickly and rationally split responsibilities, such as traveling to other neighborhoods and interviewing suspects. The kind, understanding relationship between Sally and Andrew is enjoyable to read.

Thanks to a riveting plot leading up to a thrilling climax, readers will find it difficult to put down this book. Anyone drawn to American history will enjoy the idea of Revolutionary spies hiding messages in children’s toys. Hass doesn’t explicitly touch on racial issues, but the white Corbetts’ easy friendship with Henry, who’s black, subtly contrasts Virginia’s more open-minded present with the era in which the toys originated. A diverse cast of likable characters and a swift plot will leave young readers eager for the next Shockoe Slip Gang adventure.

Takeaway: Middle grade readers will love this fast-paced adventure with a touch of American history.

Great for fans of Gertrude Chandler Warner’s Boxcar Children series, Avi’s Night Journeys.

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: A-
Illustrations: A-
Editing: A-
Marketing copy: B+

Formats
Hardcover Book Details
  • 10/2019
  • 9780578558776
  • 202 pages
  • $21.99
Paperback Book Details
  • 10/2019
  • 9780578582153
  • 228 pages
  • $9.99

Loading...