The Secrets of Code Z (Belltown Mystery #5)

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9781880158333: The Secrets of Code Z (Belltown Mystery #5)
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After sixteen-year-old Orville Jacques receives an ominous prediction from a gypsy fortune-teller, he must match wits with the local police, the CIA, and a fugitive Russian scientist.

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About the Author:

T. M. Murphy writes and lives on Cape Cod, the location of his Belltown mysteries.

From School Library Journal:

Grade 5-8-Orville's date with Vanessa to the Winter Carnival seems destined to be his best evening ever. Then a mysterious fortune-teller runs off upon seeing him, and a fight breaks out between some bullies and a homeless man. Later he discovers a body off the breakers of his Cape Cod town and finds himself solving another Belltown mystery. The 16-year-old learns that the CIA is having him followed, and even his bedroom is bugged. Orville and his friend Gina end up getting involved in more murders that lead them to a scientist from the Chernobyl nuclear-power plant disaster. He has the code to get back into the plant to destroy a Death Powder, Code Z, and both the U.S. and Russia are after it. An evil Russian spy kills anyone who gets in his way. With a lot of perseverance, a few friends, and a little luck, Orville manages to help the scientist escape. He tricks the CIA, proves the fortune-teller's predictions correct, and avoids certain death. This book will have trouble finding an audience. Teens will not be challenged by this easy read and will have to accept the Spy Kids mentality prevalent here. Elementary students will be put off by the main character's recurring interest in kissing his date. Only fans of the first four Belltown mysteries will be eager for this installment.-Debbie Whitbeck, West Ottawa Public Schools, Holland, MI NIXON, Joan Lowery. Playing for Keeps. 200p. Delacorte. Aug. 2001. Tr $15.95. ISBN 0-385-32759-5. Grade 6-9-Sixteen-year-old Enrique is smuggled out of Cuba on a small boat operated by a wily helmsman. He's left to hide on a deserted Haitian beach until his next contact is made. A talented ballplayer, he dreams of freedom and a baseball career in America. His next step in this quest is as a stowaway on a luxurious Caribbean cruise ship heading toward Florida. Ricky's uncle, a professional baseball player in the United States, is the financial powerhouse orchestrating his nephew's escape. When the man who smuggled the teen out of Cuba turns up dead, Ricky, discovered on the cruise, becomes the prime suspect. Rose, a 16-year-old vacationer, is immediately drawn to the mysterious Ricky, and she and her two friends join ranks to absolve him from the crime that someone is obviously trying to pin on him. The story is a blend of romance, intrigue, and a whodunit plot with some political advocacy thrown in. While Rose and Ricky fall for one another, grabbing a few stargazing moments on deck, their relationship pivots around her piecing together the facts to prove him innocent. This is not a challenging mystery. However, readers will enjoy the romance and be entertained by a light plot that veers toward moments of suspense. On the sidelines, Nixon does a fine job of developing family relationships and responsibilities. Rosie's attention to her grandmother and her admiration for both her mother and grandmother (who don't see eye to eye) is refreshing. A natural and subtle display of family affections is woven throughout this novel.
Alison Follos, North Country School, Lake Placid, NY
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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