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The Adventures of Jack Lime

by James Leck

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mysteries & detective stories
list price: $18.95
also available: Paperback
published: 2010
publisher: Kids Can Press
Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
10 to 14
5 to 9
Reading age:
10 to 14
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Canadian Children's  Book Centre
Librarian review

The Adventures of Jack Lime

Meet Jack Lime. He’s a narcoleptic teenage sleuth, living and solving “problems” for his fellow students in the sleepy town of Iona. Whether it’s tracking down a stolen bicycle or rescuing a kidnapped (or rodent napped) hamster, Jack is on the case. That is, if he doesn’t fall asleep first.

Jack is a highly entertaining and original character, and his unusual “condition” adds to his complexity. He could easily have been a cliché of the genre, but he’s more awkward teenager than hardboiled detective. He’s a new kid in a small town who doesn’t quite fit in, and he uses his detective business to get himself noticed. Although he does manage to solve his cases, he’s more likely to end up with a black eye or an atomic wedgie for his trouble than to get the girl. The cast of secondary characters are perfectly quirky, and while they may seem a bit exaggerated, they keep the stories light and funny.

Writing in the style of the hardboiled detective serials of the early twentieth century, James Leck perfectly captures the mood and the atmosphere of the genre, without seeming dated or old-fashioned. The language is vivid and descriptive, and the first-person narration is witty and clever, making the book a lot of fun to read. The book is also structured as three short stories, which will appeal to reluctant middle school readers.

This is the first in a planned series. Older fans of other literary sleuths such as Nate the Great and Encyclopedia Brown will enjoy reading about this entertaining and endearing new detective.

Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Spring 2010. Vol.33 No.2.

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  • Short-listed, Hackmatack Children’s Choice Book Award
  • Winner, Booklist Top Ten First Novels for Youth, Booklist
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Things might get rough, they might even get a little messy, but I was okay with rough and messy as long as I could shut the lid on this dirty case. Meet Jack Lime, private investigator, who solves problems for his fellow Iona High students. Sometimes he falls for the dames who hire him, sometimes he falls in the river and sometimes he falls asleep (he's narcoleptic). But rest assured that whether he's tracking down a missing banana-seat bike or a kidnapped hamster, or cracking open a trivia tournament betting ring, Lime will follow every lead. Readers will identify with this funny, cynical sleuth who has the makings of a top-notch PI, though his personal life frequently goes awry. In these three stand-alone detective stories, readers will immerse themselves in an offbeat fictional world populated with eccentric characters where everything is not as it seems.

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Editorial Reviews

With its tongue-in-cheek Raymond Chandler-esque first-person narration laced with gleefully clichéd slang, this one is perfect for Chet Gecko grads.

With its tongue-in-cheek Raymond Chandler-esque first-person narration laced with gleefully clichéd slang, this one is perfect for Chet Gecko grads.

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About the Author

James Leck

James Leck was born in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, in 1973. He is a high school teacher who has spent a lot of time around teenagers, using their sardonic and offbeat voices in his writing. He is author of The Adventures of Jack Lime and After Dark.
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