Reviews for Case of the Time-Capsule Bandit

Booklist Reviews 2013 November #1
Life's been hard for 12-year-old Randi Rhodes since her mom died a year ago. But Randi--aspiring detective and tae kwon do black belt--finds distraction and satisfaction by anonymously solving crimes in her Brooklyn neighborhood, despite the fact her famed mystery writer dad has retreated into himself and stopped writing. When they relocate to Deer Creek, Tennessee, Randi worries she is done with detective work, but she spies opportunity when a 200-year-old time capsule, possibly containing treasure that would prevent the town's bankruptcy, disappears during the Founder's Day Festival. She partners with and befriends D.C. and Pudge, two other newcomers, to find the capsule and save the town. Oscar winner Spencer's debut features some familiar characters and plot conventions--haunted cabins, secret tunnels, corrupt politicians--but overall, is an entertaining, suspenseful read. Randi's grief over her mother, and desire for her father's attention, add a layer of vulnerability to her appealing character. An appendix includes activities from taking footprint casts to recipes for referenced foods. Copyright 2013 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2014 Fall
Randi Rhodes is a city-loving Brooklyn girl, and a burgeoning ninja detective. When her father, a famous detective novelist, moves them to the backwater town of Deer Creek, Tennessee, Randi ropes her new friends into helping her save the town's Founders' Day Festival by locating the missing bicentennial time capsule. Spencer's fun-filled, fast-paced novel includes an appendix of sleuthing activities.

Kirkus Reviews 2013 July #2
Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan meet Nancy Drew. In this first novel by Oscar-winning actress Spencer, Randi Rhodes thrives on solving the mysteries that unfold in her busy Brooklyn neighborhood. Her father, Herb Rhodes, author of the best-selling Glenn Street detective novels, spent Randi's childhood on book tours but stopped writing after his wife's recent death from cancer. Ready for a change, Herb moves the family to the small town of Deer Creek, Tenn., where they always spend summer vacations. Shortly after their arrival, in the midst of the Founders' Day Festival, someone steals the Deer Creek time capsule, which might hold the town's treasure. Randi, a black belt in karate, teams up with hearing-impaired, asthmatic Dario "D.C." Cruz and lithe African-American Pudge Taylor from Boston to crack the case of the missing time capsule. Replete with crooked politicians, a spooky house and a ghost, a stormy night, caves with bandits and bats, and several well-placed martial arts kicks, this novel will keep young readers guessing. Despite the difficulty of keeping track of the minor characters, readers will appreciate Randi's determination to make a difference. A series of appendices includes ninja tips and recipes. A quick read about a girl sleuth whose fiery determination will leave readers wanting Book 2. (Mystery. 8-12) Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2013 August #3

Academy Award-winning actor Spencer debuts with an assured, entertaining whodunit that launches the Randi Rhodes, Ninja Detective series. Still smarting from her mother's death, 12-year-old Randi finds comfort in solving neighborhood mysteries, mimicking the heroine of her father's detective novels. A black belt in Tae Kwon Do, headstrong Randi resents her father's overprotectiveness and his decision to relocate from Brooklyn to Tennessee. It proves to be a saving move for Randi, who swore off friends after her mother died ("It was easier to be alone than it was to feel pitied all the time"). She lets her guard down and befriends two boys who help her locate a missing time capsule. The curlicue mystery involves some silly small-town drama and a few extraneous loops, but also considerable suspense. There are genuinely affecting moments, too; one of Randi's friends, whose father abandoned his family, tells her it's okay to cry: "You don't have to be tough all the time." To contributes polished, cinematically lit illustrations (not all seen by PW), and appendices outline tips for aspiring sleuths. Ages 8-12. Agent: Andy McNicol, William Morris Endeavor. Illustrator's agent: Shannon Associates. (Oct.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2013 November

Gr 4-6--Randi, 12, a reluctant new resident of sleepy Deer Creek, Tennessee, is a black-belt karate expert and a budding detective. She and her father, a famous suspense writer, are mourning the recent death of her mother. Randi meets D.C., an asthmatic, bullied, wannabe Bruce Lee, and together they decide to find the missing time capsule upon which the economically depressed town has pinned all its hopes of revitalization. Mysterious Pudge Taylor rounds out the group. If they don't locate the treasure everyone believes is in the time capsule, the mayor and his cronies will buy up the town and turn it into a luxury golfing lodge. Ghosts, an angry old guy, suspicious federal agents, and town founders all factor in to the exciting mystery. Spencer keeps up the pace and the sense of danger. The characters are interesting, and each one deals with some pretty serious issues. All in all, this is a promising start to a series that should appeal to both boys and girls, including reluctant readers.--B. Allison Gray, Goleta Public Library, CA

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