Eddie Red, Undercover: Mystery on Museum Mile by Marcia Wells

Edmund Lonnrot is a kid with extraordinary talents. Gifted as an artist, Edmund also possesses a photographic memory. These abilities come to the attention of the NYPD after he and his father are witnesses to an assault between two suspicious men. Able to recall and accurately draw the face of one of the suspects, the police hire Edmund (he is given the code name “Eddie Red”) to provide surveillance at several art museums that are potential targets for a group of thieves known as the Picasso Gang.

Not happy with involving a kid in a high profile, and potentially dangerous case, perpetually disgruntled Detective Bovano tries to keep his young charge out of the loop with minimal success. Despite his small stature and lack of ninja skills, however, Eddie, with the help of his military-minded ADHD friend Jonah, charges headlong into the case. Meanwhile, while not fighting crime, the boys face the typical issues at their school such as bullies, strict teachers, and a potential love interest fraught with awkwardness.

I found this book to be a fun read with a cast of likable characters, although the villains in the story tend to be rather one-dimensional. In fact, you only really get to know just one of the gang members; the rest are mostly seen in glimpses and in Eddie’s face sketches (excellently drawn by Marcos Calo) which are interspersed throughout the book.

There is also an excessive use of the term “über” throughout the story. The reason for this is explained, which I found more palatable than the author simply overusing a hip word to attract the attention of young readers.