Back when Renee Hand toured with Pump Up Your Book Promotion to discuss her new interactive children’s detective series, The Crypto-Capers, I created a video trailer to help promote these great books. You’ll find reviews of Book 1 and Book 2 on this blog.
Following up the success of her first Crypto-Capers children’s mystery, The Case of the Missing Sock, Renee Hand and the Crypto-Capers return for another adventure in The Case of Red Rock Canyon.
In Book 2, Max, Mia, and Granny Holmes are in Las Vegas, Nevada while computer genuis Morris, who continues to develop all types of techno gadgets, stays safely in touch with them from their house on Baker Street in London.
When a one-of-a-kind necklace goes missing from a theater production, the Crypto-Capers are hired by the producer to find it–never realizing that their very lives could be in danger.
Hand kicks it up for readers a notch in The Case of Red Rock Canyon. While a key was provided for the cryptograms in Book 1, there is no key included in Book 2. The clues for how to solve the cryptograms come from the story. In addition, while the level of danger in The Case of the Missing Sock is fairly low, one of the Crypto-Capers is kidnapped in this new one, and the remaining two have to solve the crime and find their missing partner.
Which brings me to my one tiny nitpick about the book. Keeping in mind that Morris, the technology guru, has a way to monitor the location of and vital signs for the missing Crypto-Caper, there doesn’t seem to be a sense of urgency on the part of the others to find their missing partner. They go out to eat and partake in small talk about how expensive their lunch was, but until the last few chapters of the book, they don’t seem to be all that concerned about their partner’s fate.
That aside, the first two books indicate that this is going to an excellent series that will attract all types of children: boys, girls, puzzle solvers, mystery lovers, and even reluctant readers.
Again Hand makes the wise choice of dropping readers right into the action from the very first page, engaging the reader right out of the gate. It appears that the cases the Crypto-Capers must solve will grow in complexity throughout the series, continuing to challenge your young reader.
According to the author, it is advisable to also purchase The Case of the Missing Sock and to hold onto it and The Case of Red Rock Canyon. This isn’t a bad thing, because I believe young readers will want to follow the Crypto-Capers from the very beginning; and once they start, they’ll never be able to stop. It also makes me wonder what else Renee Hand has in store for her fans.
Rating: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
What do you get when you cross an accident prone computer genius, an expert puzzle solver, a flamboyant grandmother who loves knitting–even though she’s terrible at it, and a young detective who can solve crimes that stump senior members of Scotland Yard?
A great new interactive mystery series that your children will love!
Sibling detectives Max and Mia Holmes reside on Baker Street in London. Along with their Granny Nellie Holmes and their technology wizard best friend, Morris, they make up the Crypto-Capers.
In Book 1 of this series, The Case of the Missing Sock, the Crypto-Capers travel to Florida, where Mr. Delacomb hires them to locate a stolen antique sock with a specially made pair of Prada sunglasses tucked inside. With new suspects popping up everywhere they turn, the Crypto-Capers must use Max’s great skills at reasoning and deduction, Mia’s ability to solve puzzles, and Morris’s penchant for technology to help them solve the crime. And just in case you think Granny has wandered off for no good reason, you’ll discover her wanderings are usually very productive.
Before I say anything else, I have to tell you that my daughters–ages 7 and 5–are already bugging me to get done reviewing these books so that they can have them. I have both Book 1 and Book 2 – The Case of the Red Rock Canyon, and Granny is definitely a favorite character based upon the cover art from Book 2. My girls are starting to make up their own stories without having even read these; so illustrator Alla Dubrovich deserves a huge nod for creating attention-grabbing covers.
The Case of the Missing Sock actually opens in London, with Max in the middle of something good. I don’t want to destroy the surprise, so I won’t say much more on that, but Hand wastes no time in getting right to the action.
Then we get to meet the rest of the team and get some backstory on the family. The backstory is trickled in between the current day happenings, so it doesn’t have a chance to take over the storyline or distract the reader. Hand does an excellent job of sharing just the right amount of detail to make the reader feel like he is experiencing everything along with the Crypto-Capers, while not overloading him with unnecessary junk that weighs the story down.
What I enjoyed most about this book and the plans for other books in the series, is that it gives readers, especially reluctant ones, a reason to pick up a book. By having the reader decipher cryptograms along with the team, The Case of the Missing Sock becomes more than just a book; it becomes an interactive adventure.
The Crypto-Capers by Renee Hand is one series of children’s books that I plan to keep an eye on!
Rating: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂