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Comment: 2015. paperback. . Notes: none. Underlining: none. Highlighting: none. sku265291:

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Fighting Chance Paperback – October 1, 2015

5.0 out of 5 stars 7 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Set in a small Virginia town, Stevens’ engaging mystery begins with a terrible accident. Or perhaps it’s a terrible crime. During a weekend tae kwon do tournament, a well-liked coach is fatally injured under circumstances that seem suspicious to 17-year-old Matt Foley and his teammates. When police and school officials deem it a tragic accident, the four look into the coach’s death, connecting it to a classmate’s recent suicide. Matt is a sympathetic, low-key hero who must deal with a variety of burdens and dangerous individuals. He bonds with teammate Graciana, an aspiring investigative reporter who is a little wiser than he is. Calling to mind a grittier Hardy Boys story, these teen sleuths uncover a real-life fight club and have to learn krav maga to defend themselves against the man who killed their coach. Although the resolution may strike readers as far-fetched, Stevens’ portrait of Matt, Graciana, and their town is a compelling one, full of convincingly real dangers. (Booklist)

A teenage gumshoe investigates the probable murder of his beloved coach and mentor. Matt Foley has always felt a slight disconnect from his brainy family. He seeks refuge in basketball and taekwondo, excelling at both. While attending a local taekwondo tournament, Matt's mentor, Coach Colson, spars with an enigmatic stranger. Things go terribly wrong, and Coach ends up with a crushed larynx, but Matt doesn't think this was an accident. Soon he rallies a few friends, including the student paper's editor, Graciana, and the group dives into the various hidden secrets their little town has to offer. Stevens crafts a mostly excellent mystery here, packing it with suspense, red herrings, double meanings, and obscured clues. The author complements the mystery with solid character arcs for Matt and Graciana and engrossing characterization for the supporting players. This small Virginia town feels fully fleshed out. Eagle-eyed mystery fans may be able to craft a solid hunch about the whys and whos of Coach's murder, but even the most hardened crime buff would find it difficult to predict this whodunit's resolution―which comes, unfortunately, as a letdown. It all makes sense, and the path taken toward this conclusion is gripping, but once readers get to the end, there's less of a satisfied fist pump waiting and more of a respectable nod. Overall, a smartly crafted mystery filled with suspense and intrigue. (Kirkus Reviews)

About the Author

B.K. (Bonnie) Stevens has published almost fifty short stories, most of them in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine. One of her stories was nominated for Agatha and Macavity awards, another won a Derringer, and another won first place in a suspense-writing contest judged by Mary Higgins Clark. B.K. has also published a mystery novel for adults, Interpretation of Murder. An English teacher for many years, she lives with her husband in a central Virginia town similar to the one in Fighting Chance.

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