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Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2012-06-11
- Reviewer: Staff
Let down by plot holes and a barely developed supporting cast, Goeglein's debut, first in a planned trilogy, fails to do its nifty hook justice. When Sara Jane Rispoli's family goes missing and she is nearly abducted, the 16-year-old suspects her jealous Uncle Buddy is behind the crime. A hidden tape from Sara Jane's father reveals a secret room in the family bakery that helps her discover the Rispolis' history with the Chicago mob. While there are several fun hooks in the story (including a series of "Capone Doors," secret escape doors hidden in many old Chicago buildings and El stations), they pale next to oddities like a four-star hotel staffed entirely by mob employees, mob enforcers beating up a school bully, and a case of literal (and ludicrous) rattus ex machina. Adding to the mix are inexplicable character decisions—most notably Sara Jane's decision to return to school while still on the run from her assailants—and the sort of large-scale cop-and-mobster collusion that falls apart unless all the players are hypercompetent. Ages 12–up. Agent: Jason Anthony, Lippincott Massie McQuilkin. (July)