"Artemis Fowl" Author Eoin Colfer was asked at his 40th birthday party why he hadn't written a "teen book" yet. After this, and spending the evening recounting adventures with his childhood friends, this book is the end product. THE NAMES HAVE BEEN CHANGED TO PROTECT THE "NOT SO INNOCENT."
The novel tells the hilarious exploits of another pre-teen genius Fletcher Moon, a mere 12 years old and already a graduate of an online detective course with a badge and everything. Fletcher Moon has never been like other kids. For one thing, he has had to suffer the humiliating nickname "Half Moon" because of his short stature. But the real reason Fletcher is different is that ever since he was born, he's had the nose for sniffing out mysteries. His first case: April Devereux, classmate and archetypical "mean girl", hires him to find out who swiped the lock of a pop star's hair that she bought on eBay. Suspicion centers on Red Sharkey, oldest son of the town's most notorious crime family. Unraveling the mystery leads Fletcher to break rule No. 1 in his detective's handbook-"Be invisible"-as Fletcher follows the clues, a conspiracy begins to emerge. But before he can solve the case, his prized badge goes missing and Fletcher finds himself framed for a serious crime. To clear his name, he will have to go on the run from the authorities, and ally himself with his chief suspect, left with 12 hours to prove his innocence by finding the guilty party.
In typical Eoin Colfer style the supporting characters are large in number, but are definitely not without distinction: a tyrant school principal aided by menacing twin Dobermans, and Fletcher's older sister, Hazel, who works out her boy troubles by writing plays and poetry while locked in her bedroom, Moon's eight-year-old, snot-nosed snitch who always has green yo-yo's hanging from his nostrils that he snorts in and out. And Fletcher himself, who with the world-weary..I mean...school-weary style of the dime=store detective, tells his tale, and the process gets: brained, nearly beat up, knocked out, knock-down and more. If only it were in black and white. It is plain to seen Colfer enjoyed writing about characters he really knew growing up, and this book has some of his best banter and most likable characters. This time Colfer's setting is suburban, but as always tailored specifically to Ireland, which is part of his series' charm. It's got `hurling" and "Step-dancing" how can you not love it? While the ending leaves a trail for future investigations. I'll be looking forward to more installments in this series. Readers ages 9-up.