Kari Sundgren and Lucas Stickney have made friends with piano prodigy Seneca Crane, the hottest teen to sweep the classical music stage in years. So when she is kidnapped backstage at an international concert, the girls put their heads to bringing her back safe. After all, they already proved that they're great amateur detectives, and with the adults too scared to act, who else is going to save their new friend?
Susan Runholt's second Kari + Lucas mystery doesn't just rehash the successes of the first book. It's a different scope, a different angle, and the girls are a little more mature for their previous success. Runholt lets her teen detectives grow with their audience, this time taking on a mystery not just because they are good, but because it hits them right where they live.
This second book has much of the same charisma and wit that made the first such a hit with young teens and their parents. The girls may be a little older, a little more mature, and charmingly aware of boys. But they still have the headstrong determination and diligence that made them heroes in the last book.
Just as in the first book, Runholt's interest is in the characters. The mystery doesn't start until about a third of the way through the book, because Runholt would rather make new discoveries about the girls and their new friend than rush anything. Once again, teens will see plenty of themselves in these characters and situations, while parents will see plenty they hope their kids will want to aspire to themselves.
Kari, Lucas, and Runholt are all growing up a little bit alongside their audience. As the young detectives take on new and more ambitious mysteries, readers will feel like they're with old friends. Just as last time, I wish there had been books like this when I was that age. Youth and their parents will enjoy learning and growing along with Kari and Lucas, and like me, they'll wait eagerly for the third book to come along.