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Riley Mack and the Other Known Troublemakers by Chris Grabenstein

Friday, April 13, 2012

When former improvisational comedian and screenwriter turned award-winning mystery author Chris Grabenstein writes a kid's book, he delivers page-turning plot twists, pitch-perfect dialogue, and one-liners that pepper the text like exploding firecrackers. Riley Mack and the Other Known Troublemakers, the first book in a hilarious new action-adventure series, is a classic crime caper, a funny, fast-paced mystery/comedy with lovable characters, non-stop action—and a barnful of dogs.

Seventh-grade mastermind Riley Mack and his best buds always come to the rescue when family or friends are in trouble, even if it takes some high-octane subterfuge and fifty pounds of dog food. Kids ages 8-12 will root for Riley and his "Gnat Pack": tech-savvy Jake, dramatic Brianna, big-guy Mongo, and brainy Jamal. They'll hiss for the bad guys, too—the bully Gavin Brown; his father, Fairview's crooked police chief; his conniving grandmother, who runs a filthy puppy mill; and Fairview's gambling-addicted bank manager, who tries to frame Riley's mom. Throw in one stolen goldendoodle, two bumbling bank robbers, and plenty of duct tape, and the action never flags.

Riley Mack and the Other Known Troublemakers will have readers snorting soda out their noses, proving once again that Grabenstein is a master at concocting irresistible stories for middle-grade readers.

Goodreads Summary

Twelve-year-old Riley Mack and his gang of friends stand up for the bullied of his small town. Their creative plans always work to make sure that the bullied kid looks too tough for anyone to pick on them again. Riley’s pre-teen gang includes an actress, a gadget/tech whiz, a vocabulary-minded lockpicker, and a gentle giant. Whether it’s helping pull a kid’s head out of the store freezer, stopping a bank robber, or saving adorable dogs from a puppy mill owner, Riley tries to adhere to his Afghanistan deployed dad’s directive to “defend those who cannot defend themselves”. His hero dad’s instructions also inspire Riley to protect his friends, mom, and country.

Author Grabenstein builds four bullies into the plot that every reader will want to take down or lock up. There were no pre-teen kids available here to read Riley Mack: and the Other Known Troublemakers. But with my mom and aunt experience, I predict that 8 – 12 year-old readers will love the hilarious action, intriguing planning, mystery and dialogue of Riley and his gang.

Three and a Half Stars

*Reviewed by Colleen*

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This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews.