Reviews for Behind the Curtain : An Echo Falls Mystery


Booklist Reviews 2006 May #1
/*Starred Review*/ Gr. 6-9. The second entry in the Echo Falls Mystery series, as successful as its predecessor, starts with puzzling questions that spring right from Ingrid Levin-Hill's own life: Why is her football-mad older brother suddenly so much stronger, and why has her father been so tense lately? The plot unfolds slowly at first, but Abrahams' exceptional overlay of detail, especially descriptions of the particular stresses and the goofy occurrences that mark Ingrid's experiences as an eighth-grader, makes the story very convincing as the action builds. Ingrid discovers anabolic steroids are behind her brother's improved performance and new aggressiveness (and also behind some of the mysterious behavior of various people in her town), but just as she is about to do something with her knowledge, she is kidnapped. She escapes, but police don't believe her story, and she has to set up her own sting to prove she is telling the truth. A timely issue gives this mystery a "ripped from the headlines" flavor, but the real kick for readers comes from a believable eighth-grade heroine's investigation of a high-school scandal. ((Reviewed May 1, 2006)) Copyright 2006 Booklist Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2006 Fall
Lots of threads run through this well-written mystery. A failed dotcom exec kidnaps thirteen-year-old Ingrid to recoup massive debts. Ingrid's brother Ty gets drawn into a steroids ring. Their workaholic dad pushes both teens to be better than "good enough." Abrahams pulls it all together seamlessly to underscore the downside of doing "whatever it takes." Copyright 2006 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2006 April #1
All is not well in Echo Falls: Thirteen-year-old amateur sleuth Ingrid Levin-Hill seems to be surrounded by people with secrets. Why is her father at home in the middle of the day? Why does her football-player brother suddenly have pimples all over his back? Who left the empty bottle of steroids in the tree house? Why has the new assistant soccer coach-coincidentally, the new VP at the company where her father works-taken out the coach with a viciously kicked ball? Why has the rich daughter of her father's boss suddenly invited Ingrid over for a swim? Readers of Down the Rabbit Hole (2005) will see subplots introduced in the previous novel developed more fully here while at the same time being introduced to a new set of malefactors in a more tightly controlled plot. Ingrid herself remains the same wonderfully realized middle-schooler, equally drawn to her cantankerous outlaw Grampy and the upstanding Chief of Police Strade (and his son Joey). In a literature notoriously light on solid mysteries, Abrahams's second outing for kids stands out as a deliciously plotted, highly satisfying adventure. (Fiction. 10-14) Copyright Kirkus 2006 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2006 May #1
Favorite series and characters for older readers continue this spring. Those who lapped up Down the Rabbit Hole will want to return to Echo Falls for a second mystery, Behind the Curtain by Peter Abrahams, where the spotlight shifts from the stage to the sports arena. Ingrid grows suspicious when brother Ty's buff body seems to come with side effects (moodiness), and her soccer coach is replaced by an ice princess. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2006 April

Gr 5-8 -Ingrid Levin-Hill, the eighth-grade Sherlock Holmes lover introduced in Down the Rabbit Hole (HarperCollins, 2005), is back for another adventure. She quotes her hero quite often as she tries to sort out details that she observes around her. In trying to figure out why her brother is so moody, why her dad is in jeopardy of losing his job, and why her grandfather's property is so valuable, the teen stumbles upon some of her town's secrets. Then, when she is kidnapped but is able to escape, she can't get anyone to believe her. This is a fast-paced mystery with well-defined characters and a plausible plotline and ending. Although a few references are made to the earlier book, this enjoyable story stands on its own.-Denise Moore, O'Gorman Junior High School, Sioux Falls, SD

[Page 133]. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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VOYA Reviews 2006 April
Thirteen-year-old Ingrid Levin-Hall is kidnapped on her way to the dreaded MathFest contest. Although she manages to escape from her captor's car trunk, she has no proof to verify her story to the police or her math teacher. Ingrid, a diehard Sherlock Holmes fan, attempts to recreate the scenario but she undermines her credibility even more. Meanwhile other unusual circumstances cloud the picture. Ingrid's brother Ty is suddenly sporting an enhanced physique, lifting heavier weights, and missing a DVD player while Sean Rubino has a wad of bills in his drawer. Newcomer Julia Le Caine conveniently replaces Ingrid's injured soccer coach, but is Julia responsible for his injury? Ingrid devises a clever "sting," and some suspects are apprehended, but none factor into Ingrid's kidnapping. In a surprising twist, Ingrid ends up in danger again. An exciting car chase and Julia's accidental death disclose the solution to a double mystery The Echo Falls series will have broad appeal for the middle school set. Popular activities such as Instant Messaging (IM) with catchy handles (Ingrid is Gridster 22) and online talk give it a current feel, and dialogue such as "kickass" and "pissed" add a cool factor. The characters and the setting are believable if bordering on stereotypical-but does it matter? These books, not destined to be classics, are definitely fun to read. Raising the use of anabolic steroids by young athletes adds depth, but the quirky and humorous Ingrid surely will hook readers on the series.-Barbara Johnston PLB $16.89. ISBN 0-06-073705-0. 3Q 4P M J Copyright 2006 Voya Reviews.

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