Strangers in the Lane by Virginia Rose Richter

LANE

Strangers in the Lane by Virginia Rose Richter
Publisher: Untreed Reads
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery, YA
Length: Short Story (41 pgs)
Age Recommendation: 10+
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Think a baby monitor is just to keep tabs on the baby? That’s what Jessie Hanson believes until she hears a sinister conversation coming through her little brother’s monitor. Instead of baby chatter, Jessie hears a rough-talking man and a woman with an accent planning a robbery somewhere in her small Nebraska town. Twelve-year-old Jessie, with the reluctant help of her best friend, Tina Adams, decides to track down these thieves before someone gets hurt.

Jessie Hanson is annoyed at having to babysit her younger brother, Phillip when all her friends are out sledding – but with their regular sitter out sick she doesn’t have a choice. Doing their homework while Phillip was napping, Jessie and her best friend Tina overhear part of a conversation on the baby monitor. Their natural teenage curiosities aroused, they decide they have the next week to try and work out whose voices they overheard plotting to steal something.

Equal parts fun and serious, this is a lovely read. A mystery, it’s safe for teens, but also interesting enough to capture adult reader’s imaginations as well. While I found this to be a new twist on a well-done tale, it remained fresh and maintained my interest. The small town style characters were well fleshed out, and the interactions were light and realistic. This won’t appeal to readers who enjoy a deeply gritty, intricate plot, but I found there were enough twists to satisfy me and keep me turning the pages.

I enjoyed this mystery, found the narrative from a teenage girl to be a fresh perspective and the characters endearing and interesting. The story line kept me intrigued and the style of writing from the author was lighthearted, fun and well-constructed. Readers young and old will enjoy this, as will small town story fans and mystery aficionados.

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