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Canadian Children's  Book Centre
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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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