Authors: Wendelin Van Draanen
Also by Wendelin Van Draanen
Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief
Sammy Keyes and the Skeleton Man
Sammy Keyes and the Sisters of Mercy
Sammy Keyes and the Runaway Elf
Sammy Keyes and the Curse of Moustache Mary
Sammy Keyes and the Hollywood Mummy
Sammy Keyes and the Search for Snake Eyes
Sammy Keyes and the Art of Deception
Sammy Keyes and the Psycho Kitty Queen
Sammy Keyes and the Dead Giveaway
Sammy Keyes and the Wild Things
Sammy Keyes and the Cold Hard Cash
Sammy Keyes and the Wedding Crasher
Sammy Keyes and the Night of Skulls
Shredderman: Secret Identity
Shredderman: Attack of the Tagger
Shredderman: Meet the Gecko
Shredderman: Enemy Spy
The Gecko & Sticky: Villain’s Lair
The Gecko & Sticky: The Greatest Power
The Gecko & Sticky: Sinister Substitute
The Gecko & Sticky: The Power Potion
How I Survived Being a Girl
Swear to Howdy
Confessions of a Serial Kisser
The Running Dream
THIS IS A BORZOI BOOK PUBLISHED BY ALFRED A. KNOPF
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Text copyright © 2012 by Wendelin Van Draanen Parsons
Interior illustrations copyright © 2012 by Dan Yaccarino
Cover art copyright © 2012 by Karl Edwards
All rights reserved. Published in the United States by Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House, Inc., New York.
Knopf, Borzoi Books, and the colophon are registered trademarks of Random House, Inc.
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Van Draanen, Wendelin.
Sammy Keyes and the power of Justice Jack / Wendelin Van Draanen.
p. cm. — (Sammy Keyes)
Summary: When Justice Jack, a self-appointed superhero, begins trying to track down the missing Mrs. Wedgewood and some stolen cash, the older folks in Santa Martina are delighted but Sammy knows it will be up to her to really solve the mystery.
[1. Superheroes—Fiction. 2. Missing persons—Fiction. 3. Stealing—Fiction.
4. Mystery and detective stories.] I. Title.
Random House Children’s Books supports the First Amendment and celebrates the right to read.
Dedicated with gratitude and fond memories
to Robin and Ben, who have always taken in strays
and let them stay in their “hot pink” trailer.
Special thanks, as always, to Mark and Nancy—
my very own Justice League
The city of Santa Martina has some odd ducks swimming in its waters. There’s Madame Nashira, the fortune-teller who lives in the Heavenly Hotel. There’s the Elvis impersonator who works nights at Maynard’s Market. There’s the Psycho Kitty Queen, who used to be a beauty queen but now has a gazillion cats and looks like a ninety-year-old Barbie.
We’ve also got a cockeyed taxidermist, a whole school of pro-wrestling maniacs, Dusty Mike, who hangs out at the graveyard, and a hunched old lady who likes to walk her two-hundred-pound pet pig.
And that’s not even taking into account all the bikers and gang guys and—Oh yeah! How could I forget?
So, really, I thought I’d seen it all. I thought this crazy town couldn’t surprise me with anything new.
And then I met Justice Jack.
Dot DeVries is Dutch.
Well, at least that’s her heritage. She was born here, but her parents are from Holland and they speak with an accent and say
And even though Dot acts like an everyday ordinary eighth grader most of the time, when the calendar flips over to December, the Dutch girl in her cannot be contained.
“Here!” she said before school on Tuesday, forcing a small chunk of what looked like black rubber into my hand. “Sinterklaas came last night!”
According to Dot, Sinterklaas is the Dutch version of Santa Claus. He’s a big man with a long white beard and he brings gifts to good boys and girls, only instead of using eight reindeer and a sleigh, he rides just one big white horse, and instead of putting lots of presents all at once under a tree, Sinterklaas gives a few little presents spread out over five days, and he puts them in your
into Sinterklaas, but this was the first time she’d shared anything from him with me. “What is it?” I asked her, staring down at the rubbery black nugget.
“Dutch candy!” she says, popping one in her mouth. “It’s delicious!”
“Really?” I ask, ’cause, honestly, it looks like someone diced up an old tire.
“Really!” she squeaks. “Yesterday was the first of December, so before bed we put our shoes by the fireplace, left apples for the horse, and sang the Sinterklaas song, and this morning we had treats in our shoes!”
I still wasn’t convinced, but she was so excited, I figured, What the heck? and put it in my mouth.
It was rubbery.
“You don’t like it?” Dot says, ’cause
is written all over my face.
I look around for someplace to spit it out.
“Give it a second!” she says. “Really! It’s delicious!”
But I can’t take it another second. It doesn’t just taste like something that’s been inside a shoe, it tastes
a shoe! I hock it like a big black nasty loogie into a bush and wipe my lips on my sweatshirt sleeve. “You seriously