Asbury High and the Thief's Gamble
by Kelly Brady Channick
Genre: YA Mystery
Asbury, although a haven to shoobies (tourists) in the summer, is a divided coastal town. With the rich half living in the East, and the rest living in the West, most friendships stay within their boundaries. Luckily for a spunky-smart tomboy, a clever billionaire athlete, a gossipy-in-the-know cheerleader, and a wrong side of the tracks technological genius, boundaries are a foreign concept. In fact, Maddie, Cornelious, Carly and Pilot have been Asbury’s strongest quartet for years, despite their vast differences. Nevertheless, after a few weeks of starting high school, the foursome’s friendship is tested.
After a string of burglaries in East Asbury, the gang decides to solve the crime as a reason to make time for each other. The further they investigate, the more they find themselves constantly side-stepping tweedle-dee and tweedle-dum-like policemen, outsmarting local bully JB and his gang of misfits, and dealing with Cornelious’ billionaire father and Governor---who has disapproved of his son’s choice of friends for years. In addition to these obstacles, the foursome must also adapt to their evolving friendship with each other and their peers.
With upperclassmen, teachers, and teammates vying for their attention, the gang must work even harder to root out the red-herrings from the true thief. Aided by Carly’s gossip, Maddie’s boldness, Cornelious’ quick-wit, and Pilot’s knack for technology, the gang soon discovers its edge over the local police department.
"This sucks! My mom tried changing the locks four times before she let us out of the house! Mia had to calm her down just so she wouldn't end up locking us inside of the house."
"Lucky you Carly," Cornelious mumbled, "My mom said that she would die if someone harmed the cat! Not the money. Not the car. Not even me! And then my dad said I’m to come right home after practice and no more hanging out with those hooligans. He honestly thinks you guys broke into the Lomlings!"
Maddie turned to view Kirk Lomling and the pity party he was throwing. If I had been ripped off two grand I wouldn’t sit around and ask for everyone’s sympathy, Maddie thought watching Kirk spew details and statistics of the improbability of a theft occurring in his security-ridden home---scratch that---mansion. She was about to crack a joke over Kirk’s mansion-theft, but when she faced her friends she felt the awkward tension beginning to rise. Suddenly, she thought of a bright idea, "Hey guys! I know what we should do!" Maddie exclaimed and motioned for them all to move closer. Seeing
as they were in lunch it was hard enough to hear each other. "We should try to solve this ourselves!"
"Great idea! Why didn't I think of it?!" Carly's voice got higher as she spoke. "Four fourteen-year-olds trying to solve a break-in, now that's hilarious. Oh! I do have one question...why?"
"Well, seeing as our schedules are very different after school, this will be an excuse for us to get together, and we could think of it as an adventure. Plus, we did win the murder-mystery night in middle school each year, eh?"
“Oh yeah I forgot, the robber is obviously Mr. Hayfield dressed up as Colonel Mustard.”
"Maddie, it sounds fun. But where would we even start?" Pilot asked, while nervously glancing at Carly, afraid to disagree. The table went silent for a few minutes to reflect on this idea.
“I can’t believe we’re honestly considering this,” Carly interjected, effectively breaking the silence.
"Well, we could start at the Lomling's. You know, it was Kirk's family that was robbed. We could try to find their security room and look at the tapes to see if anything is out of place." Cornelious announced out of nowhere.
"Okay. Cool. So let's----” but before Maddie could finish they were interrupted by the bell.
"STUDY HALL!" Maddie boomed shuffling out the door, and into the hall.
Cornelious reached the doorway first and slowly stuck his head out. After sensing no danger, he motioned for the other three to come join him in the hallway. With everyone in the hallway, they all stood still and strained to make sure they didn’t miss a sound. They silently edged forward until they reached the top of the staircase.
Maddie slid over to Cornelious and started to gesture that they should slowly make their way downstairs, when she thought she heard a door opening or closing. The only problem was, it sounded like it was coming from behind them. Apparently, Cornelious had heard it too, for he slowly turned and raised the flashlight over to where Carly was nervously playing with her nails. Standing right behind Carly, raising a dangerous-looking object above his head, was a figure clad in all black, without an inch of skin showing. Immediately, all three knew it was the thief. Carly was literally the only one left in the dark.
Although Maddie and Cornelious had heard the noise and turned around first, Pilot was the first one to spring into action. As the thief began to swing his weapon, Pilot lunged forward and knocked Carly to the ground.
“Ouch! What the---,” but Carly cut herself short as she realized what had taken place. Pilot had pushed her out of the way and ended up leaving himself totally vulnerable to the thief. Before anyone could make a move, the thief swung his weapon at Pilot and instantly made contact. As Pilot crumpled to the ground, Maddie and Cornelious lunged at the
thief. Using only his body, he bowled over Cornelious and threw his weapon at Maddie---who luckily ducked down in time.
“Neal! You okay?” Maddie asked rushing over to his side.
“Yeah, fine. Let’s go! He’s getting away!” Cornelious sprang up and ran down the stairs in pursuit of the thief.
Before joining him, Maddie ran to where Pilot lay unconscious. She, thankfully, felt a pulse and ordered Carly to call 911 immediately. Carly wiped away her tears and dug her phone out of her pocket. Not wanting to waste any more time Maddie sprinted down the staircase, and into the den, to the left of the main door.
To Maddie, it looked like a fight scene ripped out of a badly choreographed movie. Cornelious had temporarily stopped the thief from leaving out the far side window in the den. The thief was holding a bulging bag (full of stolen goods) in one hand, and a poker he had grabbed from the fireplace in the other. The only thing between the thief and Cornelious was the leather couch and stained wooden coffee table. However, the only thing between Maddie and the thief was, well nothing. Cornelious realized this too, and tried to distract the thief by keeping his full attention.
“So you’re pretty tough... strong.... fast,” Cornelious said as he kept shifting left and right to keep the thief cornered. “Did you ever play football?”
Apparently, this proved to be the wrong thing to say. The thief stopped moving and completely stiffened up. Hence, he heard Maddie moving behind him. Before anyone could make
a move, the thief hit Maddie across the stomach with the poker and kicked her against the wall.
“NO!” Cornelious yelled as he tackled the thief and landed some punches on his chest. Unfortunately, the thief was stronger and able to maneuver his way out of Cornelious’ grasp. Cornelious managed to get up quickly, but received a straight punch to the nose. Hearing his nose crack, Cornelious dived and grabbed the thief’s legs. The thief stumbled for a second, but freed himself by kicking Cornelious in the face, leaving him no choice but to give up the fight.
Maddie, although pretty sure she had cracked or at least bruised her rib cage, staggered up and attempted to fight the thief. Laughing, the thief swung at Maddie. She dodged the first two punches, but the third one connected on her jaw and she fell back, yet again. Cornelious, blinded by his bloody and definitely broken nose, tried to stand up, but discovered his legs felt like jello.
Realizing they had been beat, they watched as the thief threw the bag of stolen goods out of the window and followed suite. Too tired and too sore to follow, the two pulled themselves up onto the couch and collapsed. About four minutes after the thief fled, Maddie and Cornelious heard the cop sirens and hoped that maybe they had caught the thief fleeing the premises---although they figured that was highly unlikely.
“My dad’s gonna be pissed there’s blood all over this couch,” Cornelious laughed.
“At least it’s not mine. Or he’d probably have you arrested too.”
“GUYS! Pilot’s coming to!” Carly exclaimed from upstairs.
Maddie and Cornelious considered that maybe they were lucky after all. Considering that no one had gotten killed or anything. But after the cops burst through the door, led by an angry Officer Chip, Cornelious and Maddie reconsidered their luck.
For as long as she could remember, Kelly Brady Channick loved making up stories, and leaving her listeners/readers on the edge of their seats.
Perhaps that’s why she always managed to talk herself out of trouble...
After graduating from NJ’s own Ocean City High School, Kelly accepted a basketball scholarship to Holy Family University, in Philadelphia. As a lifelong athlete, Kelly understands the importance of teamwork and overcoming adversity, something she hopes translates into her books.
Before writing page-turners, she taught first, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth grade — like a dessert menu, she simply had to test them all out. But her favorite job is the one she’s now doing full time: writing. Kelly loves to craft whodunit mysteries, leading readers through various twists and turns filled with red-herrings, hidden clues, and more peculiar characters than a reality show.
Kelly lives in South Jersey with her handsome husband, energetic baby boy, two cookie-stealing dogs, and an awfully smart cat.
If you want to know when Kelly’s next book will come out, please visit her website at http://www.kbchannick.com, where you can sign up to receive emails providing updates for new releases, or contact her directly, as well as win fun giveaways, and receive up to date news.
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