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Author: Petrucha, Stefan
Adopted by famous Detective Hawking in 1895 New York, Carver, 14, hopes to find his birth father, but becomes involved in the pursuit of Jack the Ripper.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG+
Reading Level: 5.00
Points: 14.0 Quiz: 151139
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 4.40
Points: 22.0 Quiz: 59542
Common Core Standards
Grade 7 → Reading → RL Literature → 7.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 7 → Reading → RL Literature → 7.RL Range of Reading & LEvel of Text Complexity
Grade 7 → Reading → RL Literature → 7.RL Integration of Knowledge & Ideas
Grade 8 → Reading → RL Literature → 8.RL Key Ideas & Details
Kirkus Reviews (01/15/12)
School Library Journal (03/01/12)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (04/12)
The Hornbook (00/03/12)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 03/01/2012 Gr 6–10—Petrucha combines historical fiction with a classic detective story and even some hints of steampunk. He paints a detailed picture of late-19th-century New York, featuring reform-minded police commissioner Teddy Roosevelt and Pinkerton Detectives. Carver Young is desperate for information about his father—desperate enough to risk death-by-meat-cleaver (a not so subtle allusion to the Sword of Damocles) and break into the orphanage's files. For his efforts he is rewarded with a single, cryptic, hand-written page from his father. The would-be sleuth then begins an exciting investigation that takes him all over New York City, from the sewers to high-society soirees, from an insane asylum to an underground crime lab, and from the relative safety and boredom of the orphanage to life-or-death, high-speed chases. Could Jack the Ripper really be Carver's father and is the teen up to the task of catching him? While the dialogue is sometimes inconsistent, there is plenty of action and suspense to keeps teens reading. Fans of Arthur Slade's "The Hunchback Assignments" (Random) will tear through this one.—Anthony C. Doyle, Livingston High School, CA - Copyright 2012 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 03/01/2012 When New York City orphan Carver Young begins searching for the father he never knew, he attempts to enlist the help of police commissioner Teddy Roosevelt. Instead, he gets adopted by a brilliant, eccentric ex-Pinkerton whose mission is to pass on a lifetime’s worth of detective knowledge to his young protégé. Meanwhile, a killer stalks the city’s upper crust in a manner eerily similar to the killings in London eight years earlier. Though it takes Carver half the book to figure out what the reader knows from page one (namely, that dad, the killer, and Jack the Ripper are one and the same), from that point on, this is a roaringly good adventure, with a diabolical twist or two awaiting the young detective. Some near-steampunk gadgetry, a secret underground crime lab, razor-sharp splashes of bloodletting, and a widely entertaining cast of characters (Roosevelt is especially zesty) all help to push through some repetitive plotting and outfit this historical mystery with loads of modern appeal. While more is likely in store for young Carver, this stands just fine alone. - Copyright 2012 Booklist.
Bulletin for the Center... - 04/01/2012 When Ellis Orphanage in 1895 New York moves to a more modern building, fourteen-year-old Carver Young is among the older children who are placed out in families or work. Carver lands the placement of his dreams, apprentice to eccentric Albert Hawking, who lives at the asylum on Blackwell’s Island (the better to study the criminal mind) and helps run the New Pinkertons, an offshoot of the original detective agency that now operates from an underground complex. Hawking and his partner Septimus Tudd have done their homework, and they realize before Carver does that the boy’s father is likely Jack the Ripper, who has moved across the ocean to shadow the son he recently discovered. As the truth of his parentage becomes ever more obvious to Carver, he adds his own detection skills to those of the New York Police under commissioner Theodore Roosevelt, the New Pinkertons, and New York Times reporters as they attempt to close in on the killer, who is once again plying his murderous trade, this time among New York society ladies. The crime drama central to this novel is enhanced by the gadget-rich labors of the New Pinkertons, the overlapping and often oppositional efforts of parties hot on the Ripper’s trail, and Carver’s own self-doubts as he considers what it might mean to be the son of a notorious murderer. The Ripper’s butchery is largely more implied than pointedly described, and there’s far more action and strategy than gore to be had. Still, the air is thick with an atmosphere of evil, and readers who are just making the acquaintance of the mass murderer will doubtless be lured on to speculation about Ripper’s identity in the true-crime shelves. EB - Copyright 2012 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.