BOOK REVIEWS

Recovering Dad: A Bianca Balducci Mystery (Bianca Balducci Mysteries) Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2016-05-03 
Review Score: 5 out of 5 star From 4 user ratings
ISBN:1890862630
LANGUAGE:English

"What's worse than junior year of high school added to the possibility of awful SAT scores mixed with a maybe boyfriend and blended with impending college admissions?

For Bianca Balducci, it's the revelation that her mother is getting remarried to Officer Steve Paluchek. Paluchek has been a family friend for as long as Bianca can remember, but according to her private-eye sister, Connie, he is also the man responsible for the death of their police officer father.

As Connie attempts to accumulate enough evidence to stop the wedding, Bianca is pulled along, learning for the first time who her father truly was even as she tries to discover who killed him. Was it Paluchek? Paluchek's partner? Or someone else entirely? And will Bianca figure it out before her sister makes a fatal mistake?

RECOVERING DAD is the third book in the Bianca Balducci mystery series, but it serves quite well as a standalone. I hadn't read either of the previous books before reading RECOVERING DAD, and I found myself comfortably ensconced in a story bursting with likeable characters, everyday problems that every teenager will be able to relate to, and a murder mystery that twists and turns on its journey enough to keep readers guessing.

Bianca's voice is light and entertaining, and the balance between the mystery and the everyday was well done. I thoroughly enjoyed RECOVERING DAD, and I look forward to reading more of Sternberg's work.

Reviewed by: Rebecca Wells
" said.

"----RECOVERING DAD--Libby Sternberg (Bancroft Press ISBN 978-1-890862-58-9)
This is the third in the Bianca Balducci YA mystery series. I am always looking for books for my grandkids. They may be alittle young for this series, but if they were the right age, I would have them real the first two books. It takes place in the Baltimore area. I really enjoyed that part since I am from there and smiled when she mentioned places that I remember as a kid. I liked the twists and turns. I try to read all the books I give to my grandkids.
Sixteen year-old Bianca Balducci never knew her father who was a policeman. He was shot and killed on the job. Her sister Connie was ten when it happened. She has her degree in criminal justice now has her own P.I. business that is still getting off the ground so she is living at home and using her apartment as her place of business. Bianca has high hopes of working for her this coming summer. Their brother Tony is in college and lives at home. Money wise things have always been tight for them.
Their father' friend and fellow cop Steve-Paluchek has always been there for them. He was married and is now divorced but never had children. All of a sudden Connie discovers, before their mother can say anything, that she and Steve are engaged and she is sporting a big diamond ring. Connie is anything but thrilled. Tony is fine with it and Bianca isn't sure especially because of what Connie is saying about Steve. Their father took Steve's shift the night he was killed. Connie wants to know why. There are a number of things that don't seem right with the whole situation.
They don't take Tony into their confidence. He really likes Steve.
Connie also wants to know how Steve can afford the house he is living in and the car he is driving on a cop's salary. He is also giving money to some lady and they can't find out why. Of course, they can't ask and won't ask him any questions. Connie and Bianca investigate on their own. They do ask Connie's boyfriend Kurt for help sometimes. They look into other situations that took place 17 years ago when their father died that had to do with other cops and the one who was on duty with their father. Bianca enlists some of her friends to try to gather information. Kids are resourceful.
We follow Bianca through her trials and tribulations of her school life and her love life or lack of one. There is Doug whom she was dating but he graduated and went off to college. He is still in the picture. She thinks. Bianca is waiting for her SAT results. She knows they won't be good. She shops with her best friend Kerrie who is just about perfect and has the money to buy what she wants. It isn't easy having a friend like that on your self esteem.
" said.

"Bianca Balducci looks forward to her junior year at St. John's Parochial School in Baltimore; and is happy for her mother who tells her and her brother and sister that she is marrying police officer Steve Paluchek. Bianca has no personal memories of her father who died seventeen years ago; but she is very fond of Steve, who has always been there for her and her family. Bianca's sister Connie who is a private investigator believes her late father was a saint and is overtly displeased that their mom is marrying Steve.

Connie holds Steve culpable for the death of her father, who was a police officer too. They were partners, but he failed to be there when he was needed; in fact no one at least in the Balducci family knows where Steve was that night. Connie investigates the cold case and learns Internal Affairs was conducting an inquiry into Steve. He now lives in an affluent lifestyle a cop could not afford. Bianca trying to keep her obsessed sibling from doing something dangerously stupid assists her sister as they look into Steve's ties to an illegal immigration smuggling ring; the same group their dad was probing when he was killed.

Young adults will be fascinated by brave Bianca who packs more activities in a week that most teens need a year to complete (boomers need a decade). However, her prime effort is to help her normally wiser older sister from doing something insane and potentially deadly. Bianca struggles to understand Connie's motives as Steve has always been nice to her and she does not really know her dad except from what her siblings and mom told her. In between sleuthing and saving her sister, Bianca worries about her SAT scores, the junior prom, and first love. In her latest Bianca case (see UNCOVERING SADIE'S SECRETS), Libby Sternberg provides a very personal mystery for her teen sleuth to investigate.

Harriet Klausner
" said.

"This was the third Bianca Balducci mystery and it was as good as one and two. I will certainly keep them for our granddaughter to read. At 10 she is too young but by 13 or 14 I think she will enjoy them as much as I have!" said.

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