matthew livingston and the prison of souls
Serling High School was just a passing misery to aspiring journalist Dennis Sommers. After all, at sixteen years old, he is merely the junior editor of the school's tabloid. When tasked with covering a story about a chess contest he meets the obscure Matthew Livingston who is only eliminating three opponents, in three games of chess, simultaneously. But when a fellow classmate/musician is ripped off to the tune of $650, Dennis vows to help recover the money and enlists the help of a somewhat reluctant Matthew Livingston.

Along with the ever confident Sandra Small, the three teens, fueled by Matthew's lateral thinking and masterful deduction, set out to catch a thief. Little do they know they are only scratching the surface of a criminal plot bent on destroying many teenage lives.
Read A Review:

Matthew Livingston and the Prison of Souls, is Marco Conelli's tale of three teens who form a rather unlikely alliance in order to catch a thief and in so doing end up saving the life of a fellow student and forging a friendship that promises to bring them further adventures before graduation.

I enjoyed this story very much, but not always the way in which the story was being told.  Mr. Conelli has a delightfully nerdy character in Matthew Livingston who  uses odd phrases and conducts science experiments in his garage, however he seems more of a caricature than a character.  The other teens in the story tend to use awkward phrases and sound more like police investigators than teenagers.  The dialogue doesn't seem to match with the setting of the story. It is one 'gee-willikers' away from an old episode of Leave It to Beaver. 

More than a few times in this very short book (54 pages),  I felt as if I were reading a first draft rather than a finished product and this made me very sad.  A story with this much action, that many twists and turns and such delightful characters has the potential to be a great read!  With more character development, and better, more current dialogue, this story could be an award-winning novel!

Laine Estep