cover image Into the Lion’s Den

Into the Lion’s Den

Linda Fairstein. Dial, $16.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-399-18643-1

Bestselling adult crime novelist Fairstein (the Alexandra Cooper series) sets her sights on middle grade readers with her version of a modern-day Nancy Drew, Devlin Quick. Twelve-year-old Dev is the daughter of the first female New York City police commissioner, Blaine Quick, and is always on the lookout for crimes in progress. Dev has her moment to investigate a real crime, when Liza, an exchange student living with Dev for the summer, witnesses an art heist in the maps room of the New York Public Library. Since they are just kids, no one believes them, so Dev decides to investigate the theft herself, using “fiblets” (white lies) to gain information and access. Fairstein gives Dev a no-nonsense narrative voice, but it comes at the expense of her character sounding like a believable tween (“I would hate for this map thief—or any of his cohorts—to become fugitives”). It’s clear that Fairstein did a great deal of research while writing this novel, but the frequent delivery of facts through dialogue can be stilted and unnatural. Ages 8–12. Agent: Esther Newberg, ICM. (Nov.)