The Challenge (Steel Trapp Series #1) [NOOK Book]

Overview

In this riveting thriller, 14-year-old Steven "Steel" Trapp sets off with his mom and their dog, Cairo, on a 2-day Amtrak journey to compete in the National Science Competition in Washington, DC. Steel is both blessed and cursed with a remarkable photographic memory--just one look and whatever he sees is imprinted for keeps. Trying to be a good Samaritan on the train, he instead becomes embroiled in an ingenious, international plot of kidnapping and bribery that may have links to terrorists. Federal agents (first...
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The Challenge (Steel Trapp Series #1)

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Overview

In this riveting thriller, 14-year-old Steven "Steel" Trapp sets off with his mom and their dog, Cairo, on a 2-day Amtrak journey to compete in the National Science Competition in Washington, DC. Steel is both blessed and cursed with a remarkable photographic memory--just one look and whatever he sees is imprinted for keeps. Trying to be a good Samaritan on the train, he instead becomes embroiled in an ingenious, international plot of kidnapping and bribery that may have links to terrorists. Federal agents (first seen in Pearson's adult thriller, Cut and Run) track Steel and his new-found science geek accomplice, Kaileigh Augustine, as they attempt to put together the pieces of a complex puzzle. Using Steel's science contest invention--and with the help of Cairo--Steel and Kaileigh lead readers on an action-packed chase adventure as they attempt to prevent the unimaginable, before it's too late.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Steve Trapp, nicknamed "Steel" for his photographic memory, is leaving Chicago for a science competition in Washington, D.C., when he sees a passenger detrain without her briefcase. The attempt to return it ensnares Steel in a scheme to rig the lottery on behalf of a terrorist group, and gets him tailed by Roland Larson, the U.S. marshal from Pearson's adult novel Cut and Run. Pearson's smooth writing isn't enough to paper over the many illogical elements in his plot. Why do the Trapps take their large dog on a two-day train trip for a three-day weekend? Why has the boy genius, Steel, not figured out by age 14 that his father isn't a salesman? Moreover, the event that triggers Steel's involvement just isn't convincing: by looking through a tiny hole in the bottom of the briefcase, he spies a Polaroid of a woman gagged and tied to a chair; later, he is able to find the building where she's being held by matching its windows to the background in the photo. Pearson mentions some intriguing science (for example, the use of cell phones and microchip technology to make balloons fly) and the adventure has its moments, but his mystery gets derailed by a plague of MacGuffins. Ages 10-up. (Mar.)

Copyright 2007Reed Business Information
VOYA
Stephen "Steel" Trapp has a photographic memory, which is a blessing and a curse. On a train trip on the way to the National Science Fair competition, Steel unwittingly stumbles onto a plot involving a mysterious briefcase, a kidnapping, and the U.S. Marshals. Once in Washington, D.C., Steel and his new friend Kayleigh make more unexpected discoveries and are unable to let the mystery go. They begin their own investigation, which leads them into more danger, until Steel finds himself and a surprise guest in a fight for his life. Pearson does not sacrifice plot for characterization or literary nuances. The story moves along quickly, with an occasional short chapter and shifting point of view. There are conveniences that move the plot along as necessary in any good spy novel. Pearson pays homage to popular spies in tween pop culture, Alex Ryder and Spy Kids, by referencing them in the story. Students who enjoy the Alex Ryder books will find Pearson a solid entry in the kid spy genre, and those who are looking for adventure will be satisfied with the quick plotting, suspense, and eventual fight scene. Reviewer: Mary Ann Harlan
Matthew G. Skillen
In his latest publication, Steel Trap: The Challenge, Ridley Pearson introduces a unique character named Steven "Steel" Trapp. Steel is an inquisitive young man who is blessed and plagued with a remarkable photographic memory. Motivated by his father's love for science, Steel invents a device he calls FIDOE—the Fully Integrated Digital Oder Evaluator—and, his new invention places him as a finalist in the National Science Challenge. While on his way to compete in the science challenge, Steel quickly finds himself in the middle of a dreadful plot after he attempts to return a missing briefcase to its rightful owner. With his new friend Kaleigh, Steel attempts to put the pieces of this thrilling mystery together while trying to stay one step ahead of the federal agents. Steel Trap: The Challenge will appeal to readers across the board. The author's direct approach to mystery writing and the overarching themes of teamwork and problem solving make it a great option for both advanced and struggling readers. Reviewer: Matthew G. Skillen
Kirkus Reviews
Pearson's second solo outing for young audiences resembles his adult thrillers-sans all of the sex and most of the violence-even featuring Federal Agent Roland Larson from Cut and Run (2005) in a supporting role. On his way to the finals of the National Science Challenge in Washington, D.C., geeky teen Steven "Steel" Trapp (named for his photographic memory) finds himself in possession of a briefcase that contains clues to a massive heist being engineered by mob and terrorist groups. His quest to solve those clues in time leads to chasing and being chased by both the baddies and the Feds. With help from equally geeky accomplice Kaileigh, plus a number of huge contrivances, he stays a step ahead until the suspenseful climax. The author's fondness for cliches ("There had to be a way. There just had to be." "We're into this one on a wing and a prayer") and his habit of repeating information already given, keep this out of the top drawer, but it's a brisk scramble nonetheless, crafted in no fewer than 80 chapters of quick prose and featuring both a (fairly) credible crime scenario and an engaging cast. (Fiction. 11-13)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781423141143
  • Publisher: Disney Press
  • Publication date: 11/29/2010
  • Series: Steel Trapp Series , #1
  • Sold by: DISNEY PUBLISHING WORLDWIDE -EBKS
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 174,458
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Ridley Pearson

Ridley Pearson is the best-selling co-author of Peter and the Starcatchers and Peter and the Shadow Thieves. He is also the author of eighteen novels, including The Kingdom Keepers, Cut and Run, The Middle of Nowhere, The Pied Piper, Beyond Recognition, No Witnesses, The First Victim, Undercurrents, and Parallel Lies. He was the first American to be awarded the Raymond Chandler/Fulbright Fellowship in Detective Fiction at Oxford University. In addition, he secretly wrote The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer, which was a companion book to the ABC-TV production of Stephen King's Rose Red.

Biography

Crime may not always pay, but crime fiction always sells, and Ridley Pearson is one of the stars of the genre, the kind of writer whose royalties keep his family fed and cover a few extras as well (like, say, his own airplane). Yet Pearson didn't spend his youth dreaming of bestsellerdom. His first ambition was to be a musician, and he spent most of his twenties writing and performing folk-rock songs. The idea that he might become a novelist came later. As he explained in a Barnes and Noble interview, he was reading a Robert Ludlum novel when "a voice spoke up from inside me and said, 'I can do this.'" (Once he began writing and discovered firsthand the skill involved in crafting a cohesive thriller, he realized how much he had presumed!)

Pearson is renowned for fast-paced, thrill-a-minute suspense novels that include "a rare humanism and attention to detail" (Publishers Weekly). In a Greenwich Magazine interview he called his work "aerobic fiction, because I hope to get your heart pounding and get you turning pages." Entertainment Weekly dubbed him "the thinking person's Robert Ludlum."

As his fans know, Pearson works hard at nailing the details of forensic investigation and police procedure. In Undercurrents (the first novel in his Seattle-based Lou Boldt mystery series) his research was so thorough—he consulted an expert in oceanography—that the book helped convict an actual murderer. A Washington state prosecuting attorney happened to be reading it while working on a case similar to Pearson's fictional one: A woman's body had been found in a bay, and at first it appeared that she had committed suicide by jumping off a bridge. The oceanographer mentioned in Pearson's acknowledgments was called in as an expert witness to help prove that, based on tidal currents, the woman must have been dead before the time her husband claimed to have last seen her. Due largely to the expert testimony, the victim's husband was convicted of second-degree murder.

Of course, there's more to a Pearson novel than research. "Just what is it about Ridley Pearson that makes him the best damn thriller writer on the planet?" mused Bill Ott in BookList. "We've celebrated the forensic detail, the taut plotting, the multidimensional characters, and the screw-tightening suspense, but lots of fiction writers do all that. Here's a theory: Pearson is a master at manipulating opposites. His stories are forever jumping from high concept to small scale, from positive to negative charges, manipulating our emotions and minds with their polar hip-hopping."

When he's not writing, Pearson still makes music—he's the bass guitarist for the Rock Bottom Remainders, an amateur rock band made up of professional writers including Stephen King, Dave Barry, Amy Tan, and Mitch Albom (the group's motto, coined by Barry: "We play music as well as Metallica writes novels").

It was while Pearson was in Miami to play with the Rock Bottom Remainders that he told Barry about his idea (actually, daughter Paige's idea) for a prequel to Peter Pan. The two authors had such a good time hashing out possibilities over breakfast that Pearson asked Barry to write the book with him. Published in 2004, their clever collaboration Peter and the Starcatchers became a huge bestseller, spawning two sequels (Peter and the Shadow Thieves in 2006 and Peter and the Secret of Rundoon in 2007) and a series of spin-off children's chapter books.

Even though Pearson thoroughly enjoys crafting juvenile fiction, his adult fans need not worry that he's abandoned his high-voltage crime novels. Indeed, he has said that writing gives him the same "adrenaline rush," no matter which audience he is targeting: Readers of all ages appreciate the imagination, suspense, and an impeccable eye for detail he brings to all his fiction.

Good To Know

Pearson calls himself a workaholic, "not so much by desire as out of necessity," since he reserves a lot of time for his two young daughters. His hobbies, which he now defines as "something you once did and no longer have the time for," include recreational tree climbing, fly-fishing, backyard volleyball, snow boarding—and, of course, bass guitar in his rock band. An avid reviser, Pearson says, "I'm said to have a nervous, worrying disposition, but rarely feel I live up to that description—perhaps internal calm is expressed as external nervosa."

Pearson loves to travel, especially to southern France, with wife Marcelle and second child Storey, who is adopted from China. We're certain to do a good deal of international travel in the years to come. He also attends local symphony and theater. But his "favorite avocation is to spend an evening around our dining table with two or three other couples. This, I feel, is where many of the world's ills are solved, and many souls restored. Mine, especially."

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    1. Also Known As:
      Wendell McCall; Joyce Reardon
    2. Hometown:
      St. Louis, Missouri
    1. Date of Birth:
      March 13, 1953
    2. Place of Birth:
      Glen Cove, New York
    1. Education:
      Kansas University, B.A., Brown University
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 25 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 25 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 17, 2012

    Cant believe so few people have heard of this book...

    I stumbled across this book by chance. I always have loved books with spies and/or terrorists. This book is excellent. The second book is even better, it focuses more on Kaileigh as well as Steel. All in all it is very good! Now go read it!

    For people who like this I also recommend Alex Rider and I,Q.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2012

    READ THIS!

    Im serious! This book will hook u indtantly! U read it in less than a day! Couldn't put it down! Its not like i had anything more interesting to do. I was upset that I'd have nothing to read tomarrow. Then i realized...theres a second one! Read this!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 26, 2011

    love it

    i loved this book and i did not know that their was a 2 one. its very intresting how Riddley Pearson thought of this. READ THIS?

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2009

    A decent book!

    The "Steel Trap The Challenge" is one of the most fantastic books for those who like adventures and action.This is also a long challenging book for teenagers and adults.This book was also very challenging for me but I still really liked it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2012

    Meh

    Not bad just not my favorite. Cool concept just seemed to drag to me.

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  • Posted October 22, 2011

    My question

    My question is: if u hav photografic memory do u member when u were born????

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 2, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Really great book. i loved it

    Steel Trapp: The Challenge by Ridley Pearson is a phenomenal book about a boy with a photographic memory. Steven "Steel" Trapp is competing In the national science competition in Washington D.C. when a woman forgets a brief case on board the train he is going on and he insists it is hers and then he tries to figure out and stop terrorists getting money. When I reading this book, it was really boring for a couple chapters but when it got interesting it got good. I remember one part in the book when Steel breaks into the brief case the woman left behind and saw a woman tied up and looked like she was crying. This book defiantly kept me up at the edge of my seat the whole time. This is a great action adventure book and any action lovers would love this book.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2009

    10 outta 10

    10 outta 10 is all that can be said about this book! best written book!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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