cover image Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief

Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief

Wendelin Van Draanen. Live Oak Media (NY), $25.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-87499-692-0

HYouthful-sounding actress Sands adroitly steps into the high-tops of smart-mouthed seventh-grade sleuth Samantha ""Sammy"" Keyes in this crisp adaptation of Van Draanen's fast-paced Edgar-winning mystery. Listeners are immediately swept into the story when Sammy relates that she's observed a crime while looking at the Heavenly Hotel through her grandmother's binoculars. Not only did she witness a man stealing money, the man saw her, too--and she waved at him. As the mystery behind the burglary unravels, and Sammy reveals details of her unusual home life (she lives illegally with her grandmother in a senior citizen's residence that doesn't allow children), Sands keeps listeners hooked, balancing shades of adolescent exasperation with exuberance and spunk. The story is further fleshed out with Sammy's misadventures at her new school, including a scuffle with a classroom nemesis and her attempts to keep two steps ahead of a nosy neighbor and an antagonistic police officer who could wreck everything. Young listeners are sure to embrace this solid entry in the Live Oak Mysteries series. Ages 10-up. (Nov.) FYI: The second Sammy Keyes title, Sammy Keyes and the Skeleton Man, also read by Sands, is being simultaneously released.