I grew up with four brothers, and that meant summers spent either watching the Cubs on TV or playing ball out in the yard. So I was excited to read the middle grade baseball mystery Strike Three You’re Dead.
Author: Josh Berk
Age group: middle grade
Synopsis: Baseball fan Lennie Norbeck dreams of one day being the announcer for the Phillies. After winning a contest, Lennie gets the chance to announce one inning at a game, but his dream is cut short when a new pitcher mysteriously dies on the field in the middle of the game. Lennie and his friends (the two Mikes) decide to investigate the case.
I would recommend this mystery to kids who enjoy baseball. As an avid mystery fan, I was able to guess “whodunit” well before Lennie did, but I enjoyed the twists and turns in the story along the way, and I think most middle schoolers would be surprised by the ending.
Another thing I think middle schoolers would enjoy is the voice in this story. Lennie definitely sounds like a preteen, and Berk’s characterization of his two best friends (affectionately known as Mike and Other Mike) are spot on for middle school boys.
One note for parents: because this is written from the perspective of a middle school boy, you can imagine that he views his parents as being rather stupid (despite the fact that they’re both doctors) and embarrassing. In other words, typical middle school perspective; however, I know that bothers some parents, so I thought I’d mention it.
This is my second review for the Edgar Award for best juvenile mystery. To read my first review, click here.