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Reviewed by Michelle Stanley for Readers' Favorite
‘You need a crime, a detective, and the solution” - Kerry Greenwood. Private Ivy is the second children’s mystery book in The Legacy Series by Steven Cortinas. Ivy Virtue has a very sharp tongue, a fearless, headstrong attitude, and fantastic detective skills for a twelve-year-old. Trained by her ailing mother and drunken father, Ivy solves many mystifying cases at Virtue Investigations. She works on cases involving The Den of Thieves, the mafia, a ventriloquist and his peculiar dummy, as well as other anomalies that only place this young “Nancy Drew” in more danger. Despite her painful family and personal issues, Ivy attempts to keep her life as normal as possible. This is difficult, though, since unknown entities want her dead while others have motives for keeping her alive.
Private Ivy is by no means a quick read in the children's fiction genre; it is a deeply engaging story narrated by the protagonist, and it takes place in the 1930s. It was difficult for me to put the book down, and I didn’t want it to end either. My admiration for Private Ivy increased with her developing skills and clever, sarcastic humor, as well as the numerous action-filled cases she solved. There is a lot of exciting drama in the story, including paranormal activity, plus tearful, emotional moments that made me want to reach out to comfort Ivy and other deserving characters. Steven Cortinas is an exceptional writer gifted with an imagination that knows no bounds and a well-balanced sense of humor. His smooth-flowing writing keeps a great pace as parts of the story revert to the past, then take us to the future. Private Ivy by Steven Cortinas is a must-read for children, as well as adults.