Review sponsored* by J. Peter Clifford.
The Children’s Book Review | May 6, 2015
Written by J. Peter Clifford
Age Range: 10-13
Paperback: 146 pages
Publisher: Telemachus Press (January 30, 2015)
What to expect: Dogs, Mystery, Danger
Sophie and The Finn: Secret of the Box is the second book in author J. Peter Clifford’s mystery series about Erica Stafford—a spunky seventh grader who has premonitions and often finds herself embroiled in risky adventures—and her two loyal dogs, Sophie and The Finn.
It’s summer break and Erica heads to the Jersey Shore to stay with her aunt for two weeks. She takes along her best friend, Abby, who also has a penchant for being a daredevil and taking risks. Upon their arrival, the town is abuzz with news of a gang of jewel thieves that have broken into a museum in New York. The two girls are quickly taken with the story and begin piecing snippets of information together. They soon discover that some of the gang members may be close to Erica’s aunt’s home. When they find a mysterious locked box in the sand, they realize that it must be a missing artifact from the New York robbery. They enlist the help of Jake, a good-looking eighth grade boy, to help them solve the mystery and lead the FBI to the thieves.
Clifford’s characters are nicely developed and the mystery unfolds in a well-paced manner. Suspense is built into the story through a clever narrative device: the author switches between the point of view of the children and that of the thieves. Suspenseful and gripping moments for the reader occur when the children unknowingly come mere seconds away from encountering the thieves and endangering their lives.
Sophie and The Finn: Secret of the Box is chock-full of action and suspense. There are thieves hiding in a hotel room with guns, a map, a missing box with secret contents, FBI agents, and even a kidnapping. This is a dramatic and fast-paced story for adventurous, 10-13 year-old readers that enjoy protagonists with determination.
About the Author
Peter Clifford currently lives in West Caldwell, New Jersey where he has spent most of his life, attending primary and secondary schools in and around the northern NJ area.
He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from St. Francis College in Pennsylvania, which was followed by a three year tour in the United States Marine Corps as an officer.
He is married to his wife, Carol, a 5th grade teacher, whom he met on a blind date, and has three children, Erica, Stephen, and Matthew. Growing up, the family spent many happy summers in Vermont both as a child and later as a parent.
After a successful business career in both operations and human resources, where he further developed his writing skills, he has returned to pursue his lifelong passion—writing.
The inspiration and subject of his books come from his daughter’s two dogs Sophie and Finn, who have been a constant source of enjoyment and companionship. He also draws on his lifetime of personal experiences to inject details and information into the plot of his stories to provide the reader with a sense of anticipation and participation.
In his spare time he enjoys traveling, fly fishing, and spending time with his expanding family.
For more information, visit: sophieandthefinn.com
Read our exclusive interview with J. Peter Clifford.
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