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Steel Trapp: Challenge, The [Kindle Edition]

Ridley Pearson , Cliff Nielson
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

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Book Description

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.

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Steven Steel Trapp—so nicknamed for a photographic memory tight as a steel trap— is aboard a train on his way to the National Science Challenge in Washington, D.C., when he unwittingly runs afoul of a gangster with ties to overseas terrorist organizations. Steve joins forces with Kaileigh, a runaway, and the two take it upon themselves to rescue a woman they suspect is being held hostage. Now they just need to figure out by whom, and for what reason, all the while dodging meddling adults—from an overprotective mom and harried nanny to various federal agents—tripping over themselves, even as they stay one step behind Steel and Kaileigh. As the plot accelerates toward the conclusion, Steel realizes, This is just like Spy Kids! a serviceable benchmark. Pearson’s leap into the youth thriller market is less successful than the Peter Pan books he coauthored with Dave Barry, but this has imaginative plot twists, and is a kid-friendly take on a familiar genre. Grades 5-8. --Ian Chipman

About the Author

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

Product Details

  • File Size: 622 KB
  • Print Length: 338 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1423108035
  • Publisher: Disney Hyperion; Reprint edition (November 29, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004D4YIL6
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #239,868 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book April 21, 2008
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I am 13 1/2 and read this - the latest by Ridley Pearson. He is probably my favorite author. His books are not for little kids and not for adults, although my mom enjoys reading all of his, even my books. I think this is a super book for all kids, ages 10+ to read! It's full of adventure, fun and mystery! It is a quick read - I read it in 2-3 days going to/from school and soccer. It's hard to put down like all of Ridley's books. Get it! Read it! Enjoy it!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Fourteen-year-old Steven Trapp's photographic memory earned him the nickname "Steel" because anything and everything he sees gets locked down in his brain like a steel trap. While his talent comes in handy when trying to impress teachers or distract his mom, he doesn't feel it's enough to make him intelligent. But that's where Steel is wrong, because he's incredibly smart --- ingenious even. He's definitely brainy enough to compete in the National Science Challenge held in Washington, D.C.

So now Steel sits on a train bound for the Challenge with his mother, his dog Cairo and an invention of his own called FIDOE. Like dogs, his computerized robot singles out a specified scent and then tracks it; FIDOE is short for Fully Integrated Digital Odor Evaluator. While he's not worried about the invention itself, or even so much his presentation (the speech is locked in his memory), he's concerned about his father. Originally, his dad was the one planning to go with him to the Challenge, but for some strange reason --- one that his mom refuses to discuss --- his dad was delayed while on a business trip. But Steel is starting to believe that his mom isn't telling him something. Are his parents heading for divorce?

When his mom walks to the other end of the train for yet another private phone call, Steel notices something. A woman who boarded the train with a briefcase is now leaving without it. Steel jumps up and grabs the briefcase out of the overhead bin and chases after her. When he finally catches up with her, she defiantly refuses ownership of it. But Steel knows he's right; the image of her boarding is stored in his mind. Why would she lie? Not knowing what else to do, he turns the abandoned briefcase over to the conductor, yet he can't stop thinking about it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great read! July 27, 2008
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is a definite winner! Ridley Pearson is just incredible! I started off reading his wonderful mysteries, then got hooked on the Peter Pan series -- the very best of his stories in my opinion!!!! Because I love his writing, I purchased this book too. I am so glad that I did... the story grabs you and keeps the action coming! I couldn't put it down! Although geared to teens, the book is a great read, no matter what your age. Enjoy! It really is worth reading! (Then try his Peter Pan books -- WOW!)
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4.0 out of 5 stars Brief the Briefcase March 15, 2010
I love reading spy novels - anything with international intrigue or the FBI or the CIA - I just devour it. And when I found out that Ridley Pearson had written a kid-spy-type novel, I was definitely intrigued. I've been somewhat of a backseat fan of Pearson after reading his PETER AND THE STARCATCHERS novel, co-written with Dave Barry. So I thought I would give STEEL TRAPP: THE CHALLENGE a chance. And I'm glad I did.

Things start out with a fourteen-year old boy named Steel Trapp, who is traveling to Washington, D.C. with his mother for the National Science Challenge. But when a mysterious lady drops a briefcase off on the train and then disappears onto the platform, Steel can't help but wonder what is going on. And soon, he finds himself swimming in a plot that could change the face of the United States of America forever - unless he can outsmart the people after him just long enough to figure things out. But with time sliding away and lives in danger, it's going to take a miracle to save them all.

I had read Pearson's THE KINGDOM KEEPERS a while back, and I must say, that book left me a little under-impressed. The writing had seemed to jump all over the place, never really sticking very solidly to the story. The plot of KEEPERS soon became so convoluted that it was very difficult to follow. I kind of expected something similar with The Challenge, but I was really surprised at the linear way that Pearson holds the story together. Things don't jump around out of control and hard to follow. Instead the story keeps moving right along, pausing here and there at the right moment to develop an interesting side plot with Steel's parents and their failing relationship.

The characters are fun too. There's Steel, who's not your typical Alex Rider hero.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Not a bad Read March 9, 2010
This is my first book by Pearson, and the odds are I'll check out the next one.

Meet Steven "Steel" Trapp. He your average teenage genius, he has a photographic memory, and his mind is a steel trap, hence the name. Once he sees something, or reads something, he'll always remember it. He and his mother are on their way to Washington, DC for a Science Fair for building a robot. On the train he saw a woman bring on a brief case and stated to get off the train. Steel saw it, grabbed it and tried to give it back to the women. She said it wasn't hers, and left it there. That's not good enough for Steel, he can't get it open the regular way, so he came up with a way to open it, and sees a picture inside it, and his life is changed. It seems that some terrorists are after him. With the help of a girl he just met and US Marshals, he'll have to find a way to stop the terroriest, and keep his family safe. As the plot thickens, he finds out his father isn't really who he said he was.

Over all, it was an oaky read. I found Steel an interesting characters. I felt the mom and him argued a lot, and it didn't seem to fit. I'd have liked to see more of a cat and mouse chase between Steel and the bad guys.

Pearson has one or two plot twists that should keep the reader interested in the story. Is it perfect? No, but it's not a bad read.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Steel Trapp was quite entertaining. Nice writing and plot.
Steel needs to work out more. Also needs to get the email/phone/twitter/Facebook account for his new girl friend.
Nice story
Published 11 days ago by Joseph B. Hart Jr.
4.0 out of 5 stars A fun read.
Well done! The main characters are realistic and grab your attention quickly. The action is Pearson's usual - fast and dynamic. A fun read.
Published 25 days ago by Fay
3.0 out of 5 stars Didn't catch me as a steel trap would.
Predictable, but an interesting youthful book.
Published 6 months ago by L. Swiger
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommend it. Great reading
Iloved it. Recommend it. Great reading.
Published 8 months ago by Teena Bowers
5.0 out of 5 stars I liked it because it was a good mystery and adventure ...
I liked it because it was a good mystery and adventure book. I liked it more than Alex Rider. The plot was good. It was a very interesting read.
Published 10 months ago by SN
4.0 out of 5 stars Steel Trapp: The Challenge...
Great read. Ridley Pearson is a very talented writer and his stories are always well-written. Can't wait to read the next book.
Published 10 months ago by Ms. Hoh
5.0 out of 5 stars OMG! I love Ridley Pearson!
I got started on reading Mr. Pearson several years ago when our house sitter left one of his paperbacks with me. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Mary G.
5.0 out of 5 stars Ok
Good book very entertaining book definitely a page Turner surprise ending to me at least well that's all I have to say
Published 19 months ago by Jason Shaeffer
3.0 out of 5 stars more of a teen read
Not quite what I expected from Ridley Pearson. I'm used to more adult stories from him but it was okay.
Published 21 months ago by megwis
4.0 out of 5 stars Better than I expected.
When kids are the focus of a mystery you expect the work to be some what light and see-through. This book had more meat to it than I expected. this is not a Nancy Drew mystery. Read more
Published 21 months ago by SALLIE PAGE
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More About the Author

Ridley Pearson (, the first American to be awarded the Raymond Chandler/Fulbright Fellowship in Detective Fiction at Wadham College, Oxford University, is the bestselling author of over 50 novels including, Peter And the Starcatchers (co-written with Dave Barry), The Kingdom Keepers series, and two dozen crime novels including: Probable Cause, Beyond Recognition, Killer Weekend, The Risk Agent, and The Red Room. His novel The Diary Of Ellen Rimbauer, a prequel to a Stephen King miniseries, was a New York Times #1 bestseller, and a ABC TV movie (2009).

Peter and the Starcatcher, a stage play adaptation written by Rick Elice (Jersey Boys) won 5 Tonys for its Broadway run and is currently touring the US.

Ridley is a founding member of, and plays bass guitar in, the all-author rock band, The Rockbottom Remainders (, with Dave Barry, Stephen King, Scott Turow, Mitch Albom, Roy Blount Jr., James McBride, Amy Tan and Greg Iles. The band has raised over 2.5 million dollars for charities.

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