The Camp Phoenix Caper: Book 2

( 1 )


Charlie Collier is back solving mysteries out of his parents' garage, and this one's a doozey!

Actually, there may be more than just one mystery out there to solve. There's Charlie's friend Sherman's brother, who is missing. And then there's a series of robberies in town involving masked teenagers. Could they be related?  Charlie has to get himself in a heap of trouble—like getting thrown in juvie!—to figure out what's ...

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The Camp Phoenix Caper: Book 2

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Charlie Collier is back solving mysteries out of his parents' garage, and this one's a doozey!

Actually, there may be more than just one mystery out there to solve. There's Charlie's friend Sherman's brother, who is missing. And then there's a series of robberies in town involving masked teenagers. Could they be related?  Charlie has to get himself in a heap of trouble—like getting thrown in juvie!—to figure out what's going on.

Filled with action, adventure, humor and brain teasers, this is perfect for an older elementary school or young junior high school mystery fan.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Enid J. Portnoy
Henry Collins is impatiently awaiting his two friends so they can begin work for their junior detective firm. It is Charlie who narrates the book, when Scarlett and Charlie finally appear. Their conversational scenes are reminiscent of Garrison Keillor's Guy Noir radio detective, although these characters are twelve or thirteen years old. Madormo has added abundant dialogue in his book, filled with puns and jokes middle school readers will enjoy. Charlie and his friends try to solve each case problem with careful planning and rational thinking—well, most of the time! Each of their mysteries unfolds carefully, as Madormo scatters important clues in chapter endings. Every chapter also includes classroom riddles posed by Charlie's science teacher. Charlie can solve them faster than anyone else, thanks to his ability to draw on his past reading of many mysteries especially those that involve Sam Solomon, one of the greatest literary detectives. The clues that Charlie discovers act as links to the next case. This is a clever device. From missing persons to robberies, and suspicious paramilitary groups, Charlie's detective team gets into some tough spots. Luckily, the team has the advantage of its unofficial senior staff member: Charlie's grandma. She turns out to be a smart War II cryptologist with detective experience, and she has ideas and strategies to share when Charlie works on a case. In this adventure, Charlie finds himself in danger when he gets trapped in a camp outside his hometown. The book builds excitement, and although several inside jokes may be unfamiliar to a young reader, broad humor is always present under the surface of the plot. Please wish this detective team and grandma much luck, because they will need it to succeed. Number two in the "Charlie Collier, Snoop For Hire" mystery series. Reviewer: Enid J. Portnoy
School Library Journal
Gr 4–6—Twelve-year-old Charlie Collier and his trusty sidekick, Henry, have now taken on another partner, Scarlet, in their detective agency, and they are hired to find a friend's older brother, an outspoken nature lover and activist. At the same time, teens are suspected of committing a series of robberies in town. At a press conference, the mayor introduces Colonel Harvard Culpepper, who has a plan to rehabilitate the perpetrators-boot camp instead of incarceration. But there is more to him than meets the eye, and Charlie is determined to get to the bottom of the colonel's motives. Charlie still has a deep-rooted love of 1930s fictional private investigator Sam Solomon, which lends this contemporary story an old-fashioned feel. Scarlett and Henry have an antagonistic relationship, which will ring true with many readers. And Charlie's amusing Grandma is in full force again with her zany costumes, jokes, and mannerisms. This is a solid mystery, and the characters are reasonably well fleshed out. Hand this book to those who enjoyed Wendelin Van Draanen's "Sammy Keyes" series (Knopf) or Kevin Sylvester's "Neil Flambé Capers" (S & S).—Julie Shatterly, W.A. Bess Elementary School, Gastonia, NC
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780399255441
  • Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
  • Publication date: 2/21/2013
  • Series: Charlie Collier,Snoop for Hire Series, #2
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 397,048
  • Age range: 10 - 9 Years
  • Lexile: 660L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.84 (w) x 8.36 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

 John Madormo (  is an author, screenwriter and professor at North Central College.  He lives in Naperville, Illinois. 

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Read an Excerpt

Sometimes the answer is right in front of you.

"So why all the mystery?" I asked. "Why couldn't they just tell us that he was there and then he wasn't there? I don't get it."

Eugene smiled. "That one's easy. It's called covering your butt. You see, it wouldn't look very good for a police department to have to admit that they lost a prisoner. It would be kind of embarrassing. And since this was a relatively minor offense, they just wiped it off the books. It's like it never happened."

As we sat in the hearse, a yellow school bus pulled up in front of the police station. On its side were the words Camp Phoenix. Seconds later a long line of teens paraded out the front door of the station and onto the bus.

"Eugene," Henry said, "how do you think Josh escaped?"

Eugene scratched his head. "He must have slipped out somehow. It's a mystery. Maybe he blended in with a group of people leaving the station. Normal folks go into police stations for any number of reasons—asking for directions, paying parking tickets, reporting a dog bite—you name it. It's the only think I can think of."

I found myself watching the kids filing onto the Camp Phoenix bus. They were all teenage boys. And suddenly it got me thinking.

"Wait a minute," I said, pointing to the bus. "I know exactly where he is."

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2013

    Charlie Collier snoop for hire book # 2

    I really loved this book because it really made me feel for the characters at certain parts, like when the person was feeling diapointed or excited I would feel the same way. I also like the book because it gave me a lot of adrenaline build up at certain (mostly scary) parts. The final reason why I loved this book was because I like mysterys and this was one so I loved solving mini mysterys and "brain busters". I would for sure recommend this book.

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