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Deadly Drive

Deadly Drive

4.5 2
by David Patneaude

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Nine years ago, a hit-and-run driver killed Casey’s mother. Casey swears revenge if she ever finds out the identity of the driver. Complicating her feelings, every year on the anniversary of her mother’s death, Casey receives an anonymous envelope full of money. Is it blood money—from her mother’s killer? Casey, who shares her mother’s


Nine years ago, a hit-and-run driver killed Casey’s mother. Casey swears revenge if she ever finds out the identity of the driver. Complicating her feelings, every year on the anniversary of her mother’s death, Casey receives an anonymous envelope full of money. Is it blood money—from her mother’s killer? Casey, who shares her mother’s passion for basketball, is busy with practice and her new team. Still, she finds time to spend with her beloved neighbor, Megan, who helped care for her when she was younger, and with Megan’s daughter Dulcie. When it looks like Megan’s computer might contain a clue to the identity of her mother’s killer, Casey feels confused and betrayed.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
An eighth grader, living on Whidby Island near Seattle, Casey plays basketball because she loves the sport and she is good at it; but mostly she plays because her deceased mother played basketball in high school and college and Casey wants to make her mother proud of her. When Casey was five, her mom was killed in a car accident and Casey's right arm was severely injured. The man driving the other car, the one who caused the accident, was never caught. This is the story of how Casey hopes to find the driver of that other car so she can avenge her mother's death; it is also the story of Casey's success in basketball when she is asked to join a traveling team by her new African American neighbors; and finally it is the story of how Casey balances old and new friendships when Autumn moves in next door. Part mystery, part sport story, part coming of age, on the surface it may appear that Patneaude is trying to do it all. But, he is able to pull it off, developing strong, realistic characters who interact with authentic dialogue. Some coincidences help tie up the loose ends, but emotionally the reader is connected and will want to know how Casey handles the next phase in her life. 2005, Albert Whitman and Company, Ages 12 to 16.
—Wendy M. Smith-D'Arezzo
School Library Journal
Gr 6-8-Casey Wilde gets an envelope with cash every year around the time her mother was killed by a hit-and-run driver. The teen and her father have spent the last nine years trying to understand who is sending the money and why. As Casey turns 15, she gets a new neighbor, Autumn, who wants her to join her AAU basketball team. She also meets a man named Rex who seems helpful, but is he? Unfortunately, by the time the mystery is solved, readers won't care. The pacing of the book is odd and segues unconvincingly from basketball to the mystery to other plot threads. The writing is geared to a low reading level, but there is little in the way of suspense or action to entice reluctant readers. The basketball scenes are unconvincing, and anyone familiar with AAU ball will find the player rotation and games unrealistic. With two main plots that don't generate excitement, this will be a hard book to sell.-Amy Patrick, New York Public Library Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

Whitman, Albert & Company
Publication date:
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
File size:
296 KB
Age Range:
11 - 14 Years

Read an Excerpt

Deadly Drive

By David Patneaude


Copyright © 2005 David Patneaude
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4804-6648-7


New Girl on the Island

The first thing I noticed when I got home from school was the moving truck across the street. Just the truck, no new neighbors. Yet.

Sorting through the mail, I hurried inside and upstairs to my bedroom. Through my window I saw moving guys coming out of the house. I changed into an old T-shirt and shorts and my broken-in Nikes, grabbed my basketball, and headed back down.

Was the population of fourteen-year-old girls on my block really going to double? I had to find out. I'd watch for the new kid while I practiced hoops.

And maybe concentrating on two things at once would get my mind off what I'd been thinking about since my alarm had gone off that morning.

It was May fifteenth, the beginning of mysterious-envelope season. Would another puzzling package arrive in the next few days, the way one had for as long as I could remember?

I started my routine: stretching, ball-handling and flexibility drills, bouncing passes off the garage door. As usual, I thought about working on my right hand, but barely spent any time at it. I took shots, layups first, then out, out, out, to my raggedy three-point line and beyond. I had to build up my wrist strength. I was tall for an eighth-grader, but not for a basketball player. Not yet, anyway. If I was going to play in high school and college, I needed an outside shot.

And I wanted to play in high school and college. I wanted to be the best girl basketball player ever to grow up in Island County, the best in the whole state.

I wanted to be as good as my mom.

Across the street the movers were wrestling a refrigerator down the truck's ramp. A silver-colored car now sat, unoccupied, in the driveway.

I kept working. The sun had broken out, and for spring in the little Whidbey Island town of Langley, Washington, it was warm.

Now the guys lurched from the truck with a white-and-pink dresser. A girl's dresser. I didn't see a girl, but a thin black woman paced the yard, giving directions.

She saw me looking and waved. I waved back. She smiled, friendly. I returned to my routine.

The woman went into the house and returned with cans of pop, and the movers took a break. I kept working. I went to the free throw line for my hundred.

I started off slow — six of ten — then made five in a row. The next six went through so cleanly that they just kissed the garage door and caromed back, like I had one of those automatic return machines. I thought I couldn't miss, but the next one clanged off the rim. Seventeen of twenty-two.

"I was wondering when you'd miss."

I turned, expecting to see the woman. Instead, a girl stood at the edge of my driveway. She smiled the woman's smile. She was the woman's color but a shade lighter. "I miss all the time," I said.

The ball rolled to her. She scooped it up and underhanded it to me. "Nice ball."

"It was a present — for my fourteenth birthday."

"A little birdie — actually, the real estate lady — told me you were fourteen."

"That same birdie told my dad that you — or your sister, maybe — are fourteen, too."

"As of last September," she said. "And I don't have a sister."

"My birthday's in March," I said.

"Final Four month."

"I'm gonna play in it someday." I don't know why I said that. I really hoped to play in the Final Four when I got to college, but why was I saying it out loud to this stranger?

"You, too?"

"I'm Casey," I said. "Casey Wilde." I twist-swirled the ball onto my first finger and tapped it to keep it spinning. The girl's smile stayed, but her wide brown eyes narrowed.

"My birthday's September twenty-first."

"Huh," I said, lobbing back the ball.

She caught it on her finger and swiped at it. In no time it was a blur. "That's a clue," she said, "for my name."

"Really?" I wasn't good at puzzles. But maybe the twenty-first was related to the alphabet, like those codes you use when you're a kid playing spy. Maybe her name had something to do with the twenty-first letter. I counted. "Your name begins with a U?"

"What?" She frown-smiled.

I shrugged. "Sometimes I leap ahead."

"You better get yourself a safety net, girl." She flipped the ball to her other hand, where it touched down on her finger, still rotating. I'd never even tried that.

I kept thinking. She moved closer. She was about my height, maybe an inch shorter, and my shape, mostly, but she had muscles in her shoulders and arms where I was trying to develop something besides my ugly scar.

"What happens on September twenty-first, most years?" "Fall," I blurted. "Fall starts."

Her smile widened. "You're warm."

She tossed the ball back to me. I had the answer. "Autumn."

"You're smart, country girl," she said. "I'm Autumn Hopkins. Some people call me Hops."

Hops. How high could she fly? "Wanna shoot around?" I asked, checking out her clothes: nice sandals, white shorts, pink tank-top. She wore sparkling post earrings high and low in each ear. I fingered my ear, naked and drab, reminded that I'd left my earrings on the dresser that morning.

"I'll go change." Autumn hurried back across the street, where her mom was still supervising the movers. She returned in five minutes dressed in baggy gray shorts, a purple Washington Husky T-shirt, and black, low-cut, scuffed-up Adidas. No earrings. I bounce-passed her the ball, but she didn't shoot. She flipped it back to me and broke for the hoop, looking for a pass. I fed her in stride and she leaped high for a layup. She did have some hops.

For the next half-hour we worked on our shots, all over the court. Shooter and rebounder. Switch. We made a good team. If we didn't miss we got to keep shooting, so I concentrated, concentrated, concentrated.

We played twenty-one, and I took two out of three. We moved to HORSE, and she beat me three in a row. She was right-handed but could use both hands for any kind of shot: short hooks, jumpers, jump hooks, reverse layups.

I tried not to look impressed, but a question gnawed at me: How could I get that good? I was a lefty who could shoot only layups with my right. The accident had left my right arm a little stiff, a little bent, and I babied it. My right-handed attempts felt awkward, and I knew that was how they looked, too. But Autumn didn't say anything. And she used her right a lot, allowing me to shoot left. I came close all three games.

By the time we finished, we were breathing hard and sweating. Mom would have been proud.

"How about some one-on-one?" I never got workouts this good when my best friend, Lisa, came over. And she wouldn't play me one-on-one; she said I was too good for her.


We started. She was quick on the drive, so I gave her more space — too much. She burned me from outside. She adjusted to my left-hand drives, so I sank some jumpers. I held my own on rebounds. I could jump, too. And I knew positioning.

We were close, close, close. I beat her to fifteen, she beat me to twenty. The difference was two baskets each time.

We wilted to the grass and lay back. I smelled trees and salt water and low tide. I could hear Autumn's breathing above the drumming of my heart.

"Nice clouds," she said.

I opened my eyes. They were nice — cottony white against the endless blue. "We learned about clouds in elementary school, but I can't remember the names of those."

"Whidbey Island clouds. In Seattle they don't look quite as fresh."

"Did you like Seattle?"

"It was my home forever. I'm still in school there."

"Which one?"

"Jefferson Middle. But it's over an hour away now, even if we hit the ferry just right."

"Two hours round trip?"

"At least. I could do homework, but I get carsick, seasick, whatever. I do best sitting at a desk."

"Not me," I said. "I go on the wildest rides at the fair and get off smiling."

"I go to the fair to eat."

Metal squawked at us from across the street. I raised up on an elbow — the scarred one. The movers had closed the doors to the truck and were following Autumn's mom into the house.

"You're almost moved in," I said, angling my elbow so the scar was more obvious. I wanted to tell Autumn about it and get that over with.

"You should see my room. Boxes and mess. It looks like my brother Noah's room."

"Is he older or younger?"

"Older. Much, he thinks. He's a sophomore at Garfield."

"Basketball player?"

"He rides the bench. But he's got those boy-muscles. I haven't beat him. Yet."

"He wouldn't ride the bench at South Whidbey High."

"That's what he thinks. We'll find out next year when we start school up here." She sat up. "You got brothers or sisters?"

"Just me." I tried to sound positive.

"And your folks."

"My dad."

"How about your mom?" She leaned toward me. "Where's she?"

I swallowed. "She died when I was five."

She stared at me. "Really?" she said. "You don't have a mom? I'm so sorry."

I shrugged, trying to make her feel better. It wasn't her fault. It was the fault of the creep who'd left Mom to die. "I don't remember her much."

"What happened?"

"A car accident." I fingered the long, ropy scar at my right elbow. Beneath it, the bone felt crooked and knobby. "It was a hit-and-run, kind of. I was with her, but I don't remember that, either."

"'Kind of' a hit-and-run?"

"A car came around a curve way too fast and crossed the center line. It didn't hit us, but it forced my mom off the road. We hit a tree head-on."

"That's where you got that?" She tipped her head at my elbow.

I nodded. "The bone was shattered. Like glass, I heard my dad say once."

"That's terrible," she said. "Does it still bother you?"

"When I let it. I'm trying not to."

"Good," she said. "Did the bad guy go to jail?"

"They never caught him. Her. Whatever." It, I wanted to say. An animal. A monster. "There was a witness, but he couldn't identify the car or the driver."

"Too bad." Autumn looked as if she wanted to ask more, but didn't. And I was ready to move on. I didn't talk much about the accident, even with Dad. I stared at the clouds again.

"Does your dad play basketball?" she said.

I felt myself smiling. "He's a chess player. An accountant. A geek, but a nice one. Mom was the athlete. She played lots of sports in high school. Basketball and track in college."


I nodded. "She was a guard on the basketball team and captain of the track team at the University of Iowa."

"Wow," Autumn said. "Do you run track?"

"Four hundred and eight hundred. And the relay. My legs made it through the accident just fine. You?"

She stretched. The muscles in her calves stood out in little ridges. "Just hoops. Year-round."

"We could use you on our relay team," I said.

"You only play basketball during basketball season?" she said.

"Up here, that's the only chance we get. But basketball's my favorite sport. Once the season's over, I practice on my own."

She stood, giving me a look, drumming her fingers against her thigh.

"What?" I said.

"Thinking about possibilities." Across the street, the moving truck was lumbering away. Autumn's mom stood on the lawn and waved goodbye. "I should go help."

I stood. "Come back when you get a chance."

"Oh, I will," she said, grinning. "You've got me in your life now, girl."


Potential to Spare

I went in and called Dad. He was in one of the meetings he used to complain about to my former sitter, Megan. Over the years, whenever he was late picking me up from her house, those meetings were his excuses. Now he thought I was old enough to be on my own after school, and Megan didn't hear the excuses as often. Now I got to hear about clients and partners and the IRS.

I left a message on his voice mail. "Mr. Wilde," I said, lowering my voice and trying to sound New York-ish, "this is Jane Waters, investigator with the Internal Revenue Service. It has come to my attention that you prepared and signed a tax return about which we have serious reservations. Please call me at your earliest convenience." I gave him the number for the attendance office. I was sure he wouldn't recognize it; I hadn't missed a day since entering middle school.

I called Megan. Busy signal, which meant she was on her computer, working. I decided to walk over to tell her about Autumn. But when I got outside, Autumn was hurrying across the street, ball tucked under her arm. Trying to keep up with her was a big, blocky white man in a red golf shirt and khaki shorts.

"Casey, this is my dad," Autumn announced.

He held out his hand and we shook.

"Good to meet ya, Casey." His voice was low and booming and thick with some kind of accent. The answer was embroidered on his shirt in small white letters: "Texas Longhorns." Underneath the words was the silhouette of a steer's head. "Hops tells me you're a ballplayer."

"I'm on a couple of teams, Mr. Hopkins."

"School team?"

"And a rec team. The Bruins."

"Nothing else? No select? No AAU?" He was still smiling, the smile of a bulldog.

"I've never tried out." I'd heard about select and Amateur Athletic Union teams, but this was Whidbey Island, home of art galleries and beaches and not much else. "There's none around here, and my dad's busy. I've gone to day camps."

He looked me up and down. "Five-nine or so?"

"And a half."

"Still growing, are you?"

"Mom was six-one."

"How tall's Dad?"

"Six-three." I didn't add, Why all the questions? I looked at Autumn for a clue, but she was focused on her dad.

"Well," he said. He looked me over again, but it didn't make me uncomfortable. I didn't feel like a girl; I felt more like something hanging on the rack at K-Mart. Not up to standards. "It's been real nice meetin' ya, Casey. I'm glad Hops has a neighbor her age."

"Me, too," I said.

"Wait, Dad." Autumn picked up my ball and tossed it to me. "Watch us for a minute. See what you think."

He stepped off the driveway and folded his arms across his broad chest. Show me, he seemed to be saying. "Okay."

We warmed up with a game of bump, then jumped to one-on-one. I wasn't sure what was going on, but it felt like an audition. We battled. If Autumn was trying to make me look good, she hid it well. She had a deadly outside shot, a deadly drive. And she was going at me harder than she had earlier.

But I didn't back down. I used all my skills, all my energy, and played her even. We were tied at thirteen, but she got me with left-side drives and scored the last two buckets to win, 15–13.

When I straightened up from catching my breath, Mr. Hopkins's smile was gone. He was writing something in a little notebook. He sized me up again, but this time it felt different. Not like I was from K-Mart.

"I'm a coach, Casey," he said. "Another fella and I coach Autumn's AAU team."

My heart thrummed louder. I tried to ignore it.

"The Sorcerers," Autumn said. "Fourteen-and-under."

"We've got great ballplayers from all around the Seattle area — central, south, east side, north," Mr. Hopkins said. "Our goal is to win the state championship and earn a trip to the nationals."

The nationals. I imagined where they might be. Not Langley, but New York or California. Somewhere glamorous. "I hope you do it."

"One player just moved away," Mr. Hopkins continued. "We're down to nine, and I've been keeping my eye out for talent."

I didn't dare get my hopes up. "Ten would be good."

"I like the way you play, Casey. Rough around the edges, but potential to spare. I'd like you to come to our next practice. No promises, but maybe we could use you on the Sorcerers."

"Really?" I let my heart race away.

"What's your position?" "Post, mostly."

"On our team you'd only be semi-tall. You'll need to work on facing the hoop, driving, pulling up for the jumper. And get acquainted with that right hand. If you don't, it's like trying to swim in the ocean with one hand tied behind your back. If you're lucky, you'll stay afloat. But you're not gonna get anywhere very fast. And if you can't handle the ball with both hands, you're not gonna get very far on the basketball court. In the big time, it's sink or swim."

Sink or swim. I pictured myself drowning. But I was a good swimmer; I'd spent hundreds of hours in the pool during rehab. There was no reason I couldn't learn to use my right hand better. But could I do it fast enough for Mr. Hopkins? I wondered if he'd noticed my scar. Had Autumn told him about my arm? Was he waiting for me to use it for an excuse? "I'll try," I said. "Where would I play?"

"Same as Hops, probably. Wing."

Wing. I was pretty sure I could play wing. But how good were these girls?

"Great," I said.


The Anniversary

I postponed the visit to Megan's. I couldn't wait to tell Dad about Autumn and basketball, and I still had to shower and do my homework. Even with the end of the school year approaching, with our graduation party only a month away, the teachers weren't backing off.

I was upstairs in my room, figuring out some math, when I heard the garage door open. Dad was home. I hoped he'd hunted up a pizza. I was starving, and Wednesday was our traditional pizza night, which meant we both escaped cooking and dishes.

"Casey!" he called up the stairs. "You home?"


"Where's my greeting?"

I went downstairs and gave him a kiss and hug. "You get pizza?"

"We'll have to scrape up something else," he said. "I was in a meeting with

the IRS all afternoon." He tried to hide a smile. "An investigator named Jane Waters."

I laughed. "So did I fool you at all?" I said.


Excerpted from Deadly Drive by David Patneaude. Copyright © 2005 David Patneaude. Excerpted by permission of ALBERT WHITMAN & Company.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

When David Patneaude was a youngster, his favorite story was Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island, a tale of adventure, suspense, mystery, and best of all, buried treasure. David never found pirate plunder of his own, but now he digs for a different kind of hidden loot—story ideas. David lives in Woodinville, Washington, with his wife, a junior-high-school librarian. They have three grown children and two grandsons.    
 When David Patneaude was a youngster, his favorite story was Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island, a tale of adventure, suspense, mystery, and best of all, buried treasure. David never found pirate plunder of his own, but now he digs for a different kind of hidden loot—story ideas. David lives in Woodinville, Washington, with his wife, a junior-high-school librarian. They have three grown children and two grandsons.  

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4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
DD is a very good book. Kasey is getting money every year by the person who ran into her and her mother in a car. she survived but her mother didn't and when she finds out who did it it was a shocker. Her neighbor Megan knew all these years and knew who did it and she didn't turn he/her in.Megan has a daughter named dulice and Kasey worries if dulice will be taken away because megan has kept it a secret for so long .
Guest More than 1 year ago
I Think DEADLY DRIVE is an AWSOME book because of it's suspensful yet emotional events. When Casey meets a new friend that has a same intrest, they get on a basketball team together. Casey is trying to figure out all these stratiges to play good , but she is also trying to figure one more very important thing out. Who was the hit and run driver who left her with a scar on her arm and no mother. Even though it is nine years later, Casey can't live without knowing who it is any longer. She has some clues that she thought would help, but no help came. One was that every year she gets around 10,000 dollars. She traces the address but nothing happens, Untill one day a strange man is seen at one of her and her dad's VERY close friends house. Casey is determend to find out who he is and what he is doing. SHOCKING secrets are revealed in this 'keeping you on the edge of your seat' AWSOME Book DEADLY DRIVE!