Sammy Keyes and the Power of Justice Jack

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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.

Visit us on the Web!
randomhouse.com/kids

Educators and librarians, for a variety of teaching tools,
visit us at
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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.
eISBN: 978-0-307-97407-5
[1. Superheroes—Fiction. 2. Missing persons—Fiction. 3. Stealing—Fiction.
4. Mystery and detective stories.] I. Title.
PZ7.V2857Sags 2012
[Fic]—dc23
2011040345

Random House Children’s Books supports the First Amendment and celebrates the right to read.

v3.1_r1

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

Contents
PROLOGUE            

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?

Heather Acosta.

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.

ONE

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
ja
a lot.

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
shoes
.

Dot gets
way
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.

And bitter.

And
bleeeechhhh
.

“You don’t like it?” Dot says, ’cause
bleeeechhhh
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
like
a shoe! I hock it like a big black nasty loogie into a bush and wipe my lips on my sweatshirt sleeve. “You seriously
like
that?”

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