Unfortunately, your access has now expired. But there’s good news—by subscribing today, you will receive 22 issues of Booklist magazine, 4 issues of Book Links, and single-login access to Booklist Online and over 200,000 reviews.
Your access to Booklist Online has expired. If you still subscribe to the print magazine, please proceed to your profile page and check your subscriber number against a current magazine mailing label. (If your print subscription has lapsed, you will need to renew.)
Register or subscribe today
Find more Mystery Writers Stalk the Children's Room
It’s a crime, really. While the whole world has watched Harry Potter, Bella Swan, and Katniss Everdeen dazzle young readers, a whole gang of shady adult crime writers have slipped in through the back door to peddle to the youth market. It might be too early to call it a movement (though it may be right on time to call the authorities), but these no-goodniks definitely have their sights set squarely on an ungrizzled, unhardened, unsuspecting new generation of readers. Here’s how a few are doing it.
Hiaasen and Parker
Riordan, Coben, and Grisham
Although Rick Riordan’s Texas crime novels starring Tres Navarre have won the genre’s unofficial “triple crown”—the Edgar, Anthony, and Shamus Awards—you’d still be forgiven if you didn’t know that he got his start as a writer of adult mysteries. His Percy Jackson & the Olympians series has been so magnificently successful among young readers that he’s pretty much forsaken his adult readers entirely. Still, while we might see Percy Jackson as an old man before we see Tres Navarre as a youngster, would it be a surprise to see him follow Parker’s example?
Pearson, Barry, and McCall Smith
While most of these authors have dipped but a toe or two in the kids’ pool, Ridley Pearson has jumped in with a full-on cannonball ker-splash! The suspense/thriller author first teamed up with jokester Dave Barry to write a prequel series to Peter Pan that’s already spanned five successful books, starting with Peter and the Starcatchers. But he returned to the thriller mold he knows so well with the Steel Trapp series (The Challenge and The Academy, so far), about a kid whose photographic memory comes in plenty handy with all the international intrigue he keeps finding himself entangled in.
So there you have it. These are some of the unsavory types we’ve willingly allowed into the kids’ rooms, planting the seeds for the sort of moral decay that makes crime reading so alluring to unapologetic reprobates like you. Like us. It’s but a quick hop from hopscotch to scotch, after all.
Below, find a selected bibliography of the best place to start with each mystery author’s books for young readers.
The Challenge. By Ridley Pearson. 2008. Disney, $16.99 (9781423106401). Gr. 5–8.
Chasing the Bear. By Robert B. Parker. 2009. Philomel, $14.99 (9780399247767). Gr. 7–10.
The Great Cake Mystery: Precious Ramotswe’s Very First Case. By Alexander McCall Smith. 2012. Anchor, $12.99 (9780307949448). Gr. 2–4.
Hoot. By Carl Hiaasen. 2002. Knopf, $15.95 (9780375821813). Gr. 5–8.
The Lightning Thief. By Rick Riordan. 2005. Disney/Hyperion, $17.99 (9780786856299). Gr. 6–9.
Shelter. By Harlan Coben. 2011. Putnam, $18.99 (9780399256509). Gr. 8–11.
Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer. By John Grisham. 2010. Dutton, $16.99 (9780525423843). Gr. 6–9.
Register or subscribe today