K. was raised in an orphanage by a woman who abused the children and forced them into a life of crime as thieves and pickpockets. Now that the orphanage has been freed from her clutches, K. is starting over. She’s been invited to the Bellsong Academy for Girls by an aunt she never knew she had. But all is not right at Bellsong and K. soon finds that her thieving days are not yet behind her.
Sala’s middle school noir title has an outlandishly fun plot that is almost too big for his book. In a mere 128 pages, Sala packs in an orphan girl, a mysterious academy, a secret society of criminals, a town populated by privacy fanatics, a serial killer, a mystery hidden in a series of paintings, a buried treasure, a family secret, assistance from an unknown source, burglaries, trapdoors, a quicksand pit, and, of course, murder. It’s a lot to keep up with and it means that there are a lot of scenes of characters talking at length. On the one hand, all of the elements do start to fit together nicely by the end–which is hopefully not the end of the series as the ending leaves much unresolved…..
Cat Burglar Black
First Second, September 2009