Title: THE SECRET AT SEACHASE
Category/Genre: MG Mystery
Word Count: 40,000 words
My Main Character would prefer to live in:
Bonnet’s Harbor. Sand. Surf. Sun! Dad would say, “You shouldn’t make big life decisions at your age.” What he doesn’t understand is that I’m very mature for twelve. I’ve already made up my mind about lots of things. Like being a detective when I grow up. And never, ever leaving this island. I’m not saying I won’t ever visit anywhere else. I’d like to see real snowflakes fall. Maybe even try snowboarding. But I belong on this upside-down shrimp of an island in the Gulf of Mexico.
Dear Gracious Agents:
By the time seventh grade starts, Ellie and her best friends are going to be rich and famous. They’re busy making a prize-winning video about island life when Ellie’s half-grown collie wanders away from their movie set. Ellie tracks Madog all the way to the shadows of the island’s most luxurious high-rise, where he’s snuffling something gross. Something that looks like a severed human finger. Before Ellie can summon help, he wolfs down the evidence.
Without proof of Ellie’s claim, the sheriff reckons her pup must have eaten a discarded chicken wing. Her dad is sure the tale is a product of her overactive imagination. But Ellie is not making things up. Somewhere on the island, an unknown victim deserves justice. Ellie consults the Nancy Drew mysteries left behind by her absentee mom and begins her own investigation. With Madog by her side, she searches for witnesses and suspects. Her inquiries annoy tourists, amuse locals, and terrify a group of teenage immigrants who work at the island amusement park.
The facility’s owner is more alarmed than anyone when he learns about Ellie’s meddling. She ventures alone onto his no-dogs-allowed property and into a trap. Unless she finds a way to escape, no one will learn the truth about labor trafficking on the island. And Ellie will disappear from her home forever.
THE SECRET AT SEACHASE is a stand-alone novel with series potential. The story would appeal to fans of John Grisham’s THEODORE BOONE series or Carl Hiaasen’s environmental mysteries for young readers.
First 250 words:
Madog is the only person in the whole world who trusts me. Except he’s not even a person. He’s a collie. He sits on the floor beside my stool at the breakfast bar, his head level with my knees, his deep brown eyes turned up to me with unwavering love.
What he loves is the bacon I’m crumbling over my grits. His black nose quivers. He places a rough paw on my leg and whines.
I glance at Dad. He’s listening to another call from his office, swiveled away from us so we won’t distract him from what’s important.
I heap my fork with scrambled eggs and grits and bacon. Halfway to my mouth, I tip the load sideways. Madog snaps the food right out of the air.
Chomp. Gulp. Gone.
Dad ends his call and says to me, “No more table food for Madog.”
I chug the rest of my orange juice, wondering how he sees so much.
“What are you and your friends doing today?” Dad asks.
I swirl everything on my plate together. “Working on our movie. If I had my own cell phone, I could call and let you know exactly—”
He interrupts. “Ellie, where’s Madog’s leash?”
I glance at the hook by the back door. The leash isn’t there. Biting my lip doesn’t help me remember where I left it.
“And you think you can hold onto a cell phone?”
My eyebrows lift a bit. I almost promise I wouldn’t call Mom. But we both know that’s not true.