Genre: MG Mystery
Word Count: 40,000
Pitch: Papergirl and budding sleuth Kazuko Jones knows who the Athens Kidnapper is. When a botched rescue attempt with BFF, March, turns him into one of the taken, Kazuko must spring him free before he’s killed.
Mom still made me do the paper route even though kids in our town were disappearing.
Until yesterday just three kids had vanished in over a year, and two of them could’ve been swiped by ex parents. Even so, Athens, Idaho was too small to be misplacing children. And now CindeeRae Lemmings from my own sixth grade class was gone.
I cleared a spot in the middle of my bedroom and knelt before my free newspaper, spread like wrapping paper on the floor. Her fifth grade portrait was blown up on the front page (picture day for the new school year was still two weeks away). Her long and curly red hair fell in ringlets over her shoulders, a spatter of freckles on each of her cheeks.
Athens had three elementary schools: Lincoln, Parkway, and Centennial. We went to Lincoln. CindeeRae was the first kid to disappear from our school.
While teachers claimed not to have favorites, in two weeks CindeeRae had secured her place as Mrs. Thomas’ pet. And she wouldn’t let any of us forget about her lead performance in Annie at the Civic Auditorium that summer, which I guessed she had probably won more with her hair than her acting abilities. Had Annie been a squat little Asian girl, I totally would’ve been a shoo-in. But now I felt bad for giving her stink-eye every time she gushed about the theater.
I didn’t write any of that down in my notebook—only objective facts and deductions were documented in my aquamarine leather-bound Sleuth Chronicle.