i read this book for a child lit class. It was a poorly written book. The plot of this story should be suspenseful because it is a mystery. Unfortunately I found this story too confusing and poorly worded to be suspenseful. The plot line makes little sense. Children readers especially will have a hard time following the illogical story line and the many characters. There are many turns of plot in the story that are explained very poorly. For example, Minnie is at one point pushed into a shack by a small boy. Then an off duty police officer falls into the shack as well. Later this situation is quickly explained, but the situation still makes no logical sense. I liked the idea the seaside setting of this book, but it was explained in so little detail that it was not interesting. The characters should be interesting, but it seems that the author was trying to hard to make the characters quirky. For example, the main character's brother owns a restaurant where he serves peaches and walnut shells as his main ingredients. The author includes many of these types of off the wall descriptions, but not of them seems believable. These sorts of details may work in a book that is better written. Riff is not able to pull this off. I think Riff also was trying to make this book funny, but it was not.
My family really enjoyed listening to it on tape on a family vacation. I can't speak to the age level listed, but the story is fast paced and fun! If you're going on a car trip, I highly recommend tracking down a copy of the audiobook!