It’s 1930s Los Angeles, and 11-year-old Sparky is a girl on the run, framed for murder in this humorous take on noir mystery that’s fun for middle-grade, YA, and adult readers.
What happens when a spunky, streetwise eleven-year-old discovers a dead girl on a park bench?
She ends up on the run and wanted for murder. If finding a dead girl wasn’t enough, the newspapers pin every body in Los Angeles on her. It’s 1932, and times are hard. The price on Sparky’s head gets bigger by the day.
Lots of friends are willing to squeal for that kind of dough. Her candy buddies finger her to the cop who wants to lock her in an orphan home.
Even the bookie she works for turns rat. None of her old haunts are safe. Sparky chooses a spooky old house for a hideout, and comes face-to-face with a maybe-real goblin and Tootsie, an aging silent film star.
Instead of turning her in, the strange pair become her partners in solving the crime. But with City Hall involved and cops on every corner anything can happen.
I started it late Friday afternoon and found myself reading it until I had finished at about 3 in the morning. . . . I certainly give this ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ out of ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️. – Jackie’s Reading Corner
“Depression-era downtown Los Angeles comes alive when an eleven-year-old back-alley gamin becomes fugitive suspect number-one in a Bunker Hill murder.” —Jim Dawson, author of Los Angeles’s Bunker Hill: Pulp Fiction’s Mean Streets and Film Noir’s Ground Zero
The year: 1932. The town: Los Angeles. And the crime? Murder. Filled with 1930s Hollywood glamour and grit, Sparky of Bunker Hill and the Cold Kid Case delivers a piece of the action—and a spunky streetwise sleuth to go with it. With era-specific lingo and the characters to match, Barden crafts a kid-friendly pulp as satisfying as a box of candy. Zowie! Make time to hang with Sparky, amateur detective of Bunker Hill. You’ll be glad you did! —Diane Vallere, national bestselling author of the Madison Night Mystery Series
What a fun, exciting adventure book! . . . The book has a vivid sense of time and place, with a backdrop of Hollywood just coming into the “talkies.” The story races at a fast clip from one amazing scene to another, making it a winner for kids. The squeaky clean story that somehow also reveals the corruption, brutality, and sleaze of the era, will appeal to adult readers as well. You just can’t help loving Sparky and her way of thinking and talking.—Jackie Houchin, Here’s How It Happened
Little Sparky is one unique heroine . . . (she) is a feisty, nearly fearless individual, braver even than a lot of boys she knows.—Mallory A. Haws, Mallory Heart’s Cozies and The Haunted Reading Room Reviews
I am happy to award Sparky of Bunker Hill and the Cold Kid Case a full 5 out of 5 stars. In my opinion, middle graders and older will fall in love with Sparky and her crazy cast of characters. I know I did. — My Bookish Bliss
Book Club Discussion Questions
- What did you like best about this book?
- Do you want to read another book about Sparky and her adventures? Why or why not?
- What do you think will happen to the characters next?
- Which character would you most want to hang out with and why?
- Which character would you most NOT want to hang out with and why?
- What did you learn about 1930s Los Angeles that you didn’t know before?
- What 1930s slang words did you learn from reading this book? Which is your favorite new word?
- If you wrote fan fiction about this book, what would your story be about?
- What other mysteries did SPARKY OF BUNKER HILL AND THE COLD KID CASE remind you of?
- If Los Angeles’ old Bunker Hill still existed, would you want to live there? Why?
- What is your favorite part of Tootsie’s Creepy House? Why?
- Would you rather live in Onion Girl’s Hollywood Hills house, or Tootsie’s Bunker Hill house? Why?
- Do you see yourself as a character in Sparky’s world? If so, what would you do?
- Do any of the characters remind you of people you know?
- How did Sparky’s family background make you feel?
- Did you figure out who the killer was before the end?
- If you were in charge of making a movie about the book, what would you change?
- Do you have a favorite library or place to study like Bobby?
- What was your favorite animal character?
- What was your favorite part of SPARKY OF BUNKER HILL AND THE COLD KID CASE?
Short Summary for Librarians and Bookstores (29 words)
It’s 1930s Los Angeles, and 11-year-old Sparky is a girl on the run, framed for murder in this humorous noir mystery that’s fun for middle-grade, YA, and adult readers.
Here’s a guest post I wrote on author da-Al’s blog about a character in “Sparky of Bunker Hill and the Cold Kid Case,” which isn’t a person at all, but LA’s funky Angels Flight funicular railway. (May 13, 2019)
Photo of Angels Flight – Photo credit: http://www.picturetrail.com/sfx/album/view/23044083 and https://angelsflight.org
Mystery and Horror, LLC