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The Case of the Terrified Track Star by Angela Elwell Hunt

The Case of the Terrified Track Star

The Nicki Holland Mysteries
Angela Elwell Hunt

Thomas Nelson (Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0-89840-338-3 (0898403383)
ISBN-13: 978-0-89840-338-1 (9780898403381)
Publication Date: January 1992
List Price: $5.99

Review: There was a scream. All of a sudden they saw him, running right toward them, teeth “sharp, bared, and gleaming” (Hunt, 108). What was he doing there??? The Case of the Terrified Track Star is the fourth book in the Nicki Holland mystery series, but the books can be read in any order because each book is an independent mystery. The writer does not give background on the characters in each book, but it is easy to catch on as you read the mystery. The main characters in this book are Nicki Holland, Meredith, Christine, Kim, Laura, Jeremy Newkirk, and Aaron.

The story takes place in Pine Grove at Pine Grove middle school. Some other characters are Coach Milton, Mr. Nichols, Scott, D. N. Downnin, Elinore Anderson, and Coach Linton. The problem is that someone is trying to get Jeremy to not participate in a big race by blackmailing him with his secret fear. The girls have to figure out who threatened him before Jeremy gets too freaked out so that he won’t participate in the race causing the school to potentially lose the trophy.

I liked the book because it made me want to know who was blackmailing Jeremy, even though I had a pretty good guess of who the blackmailer was, I wanted to make sure. I think that the mystery was a little too easy because my guess was right, but I liked the book because it let you figure out the mystery with them, and you got to actually eliminate people and understand why they didn’t blackmail Jeremy. The book also teaches you splendid ways to eliminate suspects if you were solving a real mystery, because “every suspect has to have a motive” (Hunt, 31).

People should read this book because it has an interesting plot, and you will most likely be kept guessing. Also, it tries to trick the reader into believing that other suspects were the blackmailers. Lastly, someone should read this book because it doesn’t give the solution to the mystery away too early so that you can enjoy the challenge of eliminating the characters if you haven’t already figured out the solution. This book is appropriate for children starting at age 6 if they are a strong reader, otherwise, the children the plot may be too confusing. People over the age of 12 may not like this book because they may have read a lot of mystery books and feel that this mystery is too easy to solve.

Review written by Sarah, Grade 6. Date of review: April 2009.