The Candy Mafia

The Candy Mafia
Age Range
Release Date
September 01, 2020
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Nelle Faulkner is a preteen private detective who solves cases from her mother’s garden shed. She also lives in a city where the mayor has prohibited candy and kid-led candy gangs are thriving.

So when notorious candy gangster Eddie de Menthe asks for her help finding a missing teddy bear, Nelle Faulkner is on the case. But when the teddy turns up, Eddie himself goes missing, and Nelle and her friends quickly find themselves swept up in a shady underworld of sweets smugglers, back alley deals, and storefront firebombs.

If Nelle has any hope of tracking down her missing client, she’ll first have to unmask the true faces behind the smuggling ring. Can she and her friends find a way to take the cake? Or will they come to a sticky end?

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory meets Bugsy Malone in this entertaining, action-packed mystery from World Fantasy Award-winning author Lavie Tidhar. With moody illustrations by Daniel Duncan, readers will be instantly pulled into the fun. eBook available.

Editor review

1 review
No Candy? Not Under Nelle's Watch
Overall rating
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
The cover for Candy Mafia perfectly captures what is a thrill ride of a mystery for both kids and adults alike.

However, despite the perfectly depicted cover, the content does lean a bit heavy towards the end as the mystery unravels. The background of the mystery proves to be a bit more sinister than anticipated.

Nelle is a 12-year-old private detective. When a friend come to her asking for her assistance in finding his stolen teddybear, she bugs the case off as not serious.

Until the missing toy leads to a missing person— the boy who put her on the case. Amongst the backdrop of a candy-less world, and a fairly serious plot, Nelle finds herself in a nefarious ploy that involves a candy smuggling ring and adults too involved in kid’s business.

What works for the novel is the unique setting and engaging characters. Though for middle grade, it does get a bit heavy towards the end. It wasn’t as fun as the colorful cover depicted—which would be a let down if it wasn’t so well written and engaging.

A bit of lightness and humor would have rounded the story out. The illustrations are perfect, but would have added a little more spice if there were more of them.

Readers into mysteries that takes its time to unravel, will really enjoy this one down to the aha moment. A thrill ride of a story that needed just a tad bit more light in the dark to be the perfect read.
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