- ISBN-10: 0307974073
- ISBN-13: 978-0307974075
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
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Sammy Keyes and the Power of Justice Jack
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More About the Author
Wendelin Van Draanen is the winner of the 1999 Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Children's Mystery Book for Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief. Sammy Keyes and the Search for Snake Eyes is a 2003 Edgar Award nominee.
Visit Wendelin Van Draanen's Web site at www.wendelinvandraanen.com for the lastest on The Gecko and Sticky, Sammy Keyes, Shredderman, and more!
How in the world did I wind up writing a book about a kleptomaniacal, talking gecko lizard? I'm the first to admit-talking animals are not my thing. First person, realistic fiction-that's what I like. And yet, after Sticky appeared as a sidekick television character in my Shredderman series and uttered his first "Holy guaco-tacarole!" I was hooked. He's so funny. And so full of mischief.
I always develop a backstory for my characters to get to know them. Even if they're secondary characters, I have to understand their background and motivations before I let them into the story. The premise of the third Shredderman book (Meet the Gecko) is that a television crew comes to town to shoot an episode, and Shredderman helps out the star of the show. Not wanting to deal with the legal complications of using a real television show, I made up my own: The Gecko and Sticky. In the process, I came up with the hero (Dave Sanchez-a boy who has the "superpower" of being able to walk up walls, and is known as the Gecko), the sidekick (Sticky who is, as you already know, a talking gecko with . . . h'hem, sticky fingers), the villain (the deadly, diabolical, and definitely demented Damien Black), and Damien's sidekicks (the Bandito Brothers, who are, in fact, not brothers, but a thieving mariachi band).
It was definitely wilder than anything I'd come up with before, but hey-it was just a made-up TV show, right?
Ah, how diabolically infectious made-up TV shows can be!
Sticky, you see, got under my skin. His "Ay-ay-ay"s and his "What the jalapeno was that?" and his "You cut me to the quick, senor" enchanted me, and I was sorry when his role in the Shredderman books was over.
After the Shredderman quartet was complete, I began getting lots of fan mail from kids (and teachers) asking me to please write more Shredderman books. It was tempting, because I love Nolan and the gang. But I'd completed my mission with the quartet; so instead, I started writing The Gecko and Sticky.
My first attempt resulted in an over 200-page manuscript. That was closer to a Sammy Keyes novel than a Shredderman book. So I hacked it up, threw it out, and started all over.
My next try had me at 150 pages-still too long, and something about it wasn't quite right. So I chucked it and asked myself what in the world I was thinking, writing in the voice of a lizard.
But then on a flight from New York to California, I started hearing a voice. It wasn't my voice. Or the guy snoring in the seat beside me. It was, you know, a voice. One in my head.
Yeah, we writers hear them, and although we will almost certainly deny it if you press us about it, we also listen. It's how I wrote Swear to Howdy; how Bryce appeared in Flipped; where Holly's poems came from in Runaway . . . and it's how the narrator took over the storytelling for The Gecko and Sticky.
It's a man's voice in my head. (Okay, I concede that I might need some help.) But he's funny as all get-out, and I like to listen to him. He's the voice of someone who loves the art of storytelling; of someone who will hold a child's wide-eyed attention as he shares the wild antics of a boy and his mischievous gecko; of someone I'd plead, "Just one more chapter, please?"
So I hope that explains it, because I really must go. He's talking to me again and I've got to get back to Dave and Sticky. They are, after all, in the midst of some deep, diabolical doo-doo . . .
Top Customer Reviews
When Sammy first glimpses Jack, she and her friends are celebrating the Christmas arrival of Sinterklaas with their Dutch friend, Dot DeVries, which involves cookies falling through the ceiling and other exotic festivities. They hear someone knocking on the front door. When Dot's little sisters rush to the door, believing Sinterklaas has left gifts on the front porch for them, instead they find Justice Jack, who is carrying a peacock that he hopes to return to its rightful owner. Mr. DeVries points him in the direction of neighbors, but when Dot's dog needs to go outside, Sammy and her friends can't resist checking out the action. What they find is quite the scene: Justice Jack surrounded by men and Sammy's old friend, police officer Borsch.
Officer Borsch addresses Sammy by name, which absolutely stuns Justice Jack. It seems that her reputation as a crime fighter has preceded her. Justice Jack can't get over the fact that he is standing before the person who broke up a dogfighting ring, uncovered counterfeiters, brought a blackmailer to the attention of the law...and all the other amazing detective feats she has accomplished.Read more ›
Readers are entertained by 304 pages of mystery, relationships, dialogue, fascinating conversations, and crazy fun. The sub-plots intertwine beautifully with nonstop action that includes: a wild Sinterklaas celebration with Dot's family, the search for the missing resident and money from the senior high-rise (where Sammy secretly lives with Grams), the mystery of the city hall statue, and the real story behind Justice Jack's persona.
If you've never been introduced to the spunky, funny, leap-before-she-thinks Sammy Keyes, now is the time. Put this title on your must-read list, and enjoy the unforgettable ride. To the highroller!!
Ms. Van Draanen uses vivid language to bring the story to life. Her writing style is so creative and different from other authors. I can't wait to see how she brings the series to a conclusion and answers many of the questions readers have about her main characters. I will be sad to close the book on the final page of the final Sammy Keyes story, but she will live forever in my mind and heart. Thanks Ms. Van Draanen for creating an unforgettable character kids like me can relate to and watch grow up through the years. Read Sammy Keyes and the Power of Justice Jack! You won't be disappointed
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I love this book, but there wasn't really a mystery to it. It was mostly personal things going on in Sammy's life. Read morePublished 9 days ago by Kindle Customer
Lots of relationship drama in this one, keeps you guessing till the end. Sammy and her friends find adventure and secrecy as they try to figure out just who is Justice Jack?Published 11 months ago by Scoobydew58
I have read almost all of the books (not in order!) They are SO awesome! This one wasn't my favorite, but still well written. Read morePublished 24 months ago by jennifer branson
I've read this whole series to my two daughters, and while there are plenty of dependable features that show up regularly, they are far from bored with the many adventures Sammy... Read morePublished on January 4, 2014 by James S. Clark
I loved this book!!! I don't know and I don't care if it was meant to be the message I received but it sure was a good message!!!! When is another one coming?Published on May 27, 2013 by Makayla Kurtzhals
I love this series and so far this 1 was a great book I recommend this book for children of all agesPublished on January 27, 2013 by Amazon Customer
I've been reading the Sammy Keyes series for a few years now and POJJ did not disappoint! This one was really funny and didn't fail to make me laugh. Read morePublished on November 7, 2012 by House Crazy
I enjoy reading the Sammy Keyes books and found the latest in the series to be filled with fun and adventure. Read morePublished on November 5, 2012 by fraiser
I have been reading the Sammy Keyes series for a long time, and my love for the fun, relatable characters, multiple-sub-plots, and intriguing mysteries has not diminished. Read morePublished on October 31, 2012 by bookingit