About the Author

Melanie Jackson

Scottish-born and mystery-minded, Melanie Jackson is the author of Orca's Dinah Galloway Mystery Series for eight-to-11-year-olds, and young-adult suspensers such as The Big Dip and High Wire. Melanie, who lives in Vancouver with her husband Bart, is a business/advertising writer and editor. She's a member of the Vancouver Sun's Book Club, which reviews current novels in print and online. Melanie likes hiking, piano, English/Scottish history—and continually learning from the kids she works with as a writing mentor with the Vancouver School Board.

Melanie teaches a mystery unit to Grades 8 and 9 at two Vancouver secondary schools. She welcomes schools’ inquiries about her presentations for intermediate and secondary classes. For more information, e-mail Melanie or visit her blog.

Books by this Author
Death Drop

Death Drop

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Eye Sore

Eye Sore

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Fast Slide

Fast Slide

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Excerpt

She glanced around the park yet again. This time her gaze came to rest on Judd, at the top of the Boa. She turned to walk away—but not before I saw the glint of fear in her eyes.

 

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High Wire

High Wire

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Medusa's Scream

Medusa's Scream

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No Way Out
Excerpt

I had to get hold of the police. Maybe Mr. Rafferty kept a cell phone in his desk. Quietly, so Heck wouldn’t hear through the speakerphone, I started opening drawers. I found the usual stuff: files, pens, pencils, a calculator. In a middle drawer, I found a rolled up set of blueprints, bound with elastic. I pulled the blueprints out. Dimly I remembered, at dinner the other night, Alvin telling Mom and me about how he started each security assignment. Blueprints in hand, he’d suss out a client’s building, whether it was business or home. He needed to consider all aspects of a building, its ins and outs. I have to get out of this one, I thought. And my brain hammered home the despairing truth: There’s no way out. Heck raised his mumbly voice a notch. “First, just so nobody gets any ideas about calling the cops, I want you all to throw down your cell phones.” I looked down the aisle. Gina was shaking her head. “Don’t play smart with me, toots,” Heck glowered at her. “I know you got a phone. All you girls do. Or maybe,” he smirked, “you want me to step over and do an extended body search for it.” Trembling, Gina withdrew a cell phone from her smock pocket and tossed it on the floor, joining the ones Jon, Mr. Rafferty and Rick the custodian had dropped. I cursed silently. I was the one person without a cell. And why? Because I was several shades of idiot, that’s why. Aware that my own cell would chalk up roaming charges if I used it in Winnipeg, Alvin had offered me a brand-new BlackBerry as a gift. And I’d refused it. Heck pulled a pillowcase from his back jean pocket and tossed it to Mr. Rafferty. “You’re gonna fill that with dough. I know you got lots of dough on Fridays: it’s bank deposit day, ain’t it, Rafferty old boy?” Heck chuckled at the storeowner’s bewildered expression. “What didja think, I’d come in here without a plan? I’d come in here ignorant?” “I’m sure you had a great plan,” Mr. Rafferty sighed. Even from here, I could see how pale he looked, his shoulders slumping in defeat. “No more delaying,” Heck barked. He waved the rifle. “Everybody, MOVE. But stay low, and stay where I can see you.” Led by the storeowner, with Heck at the rear, the hostages started down the aisle toward the office. They walked bent, arms swaying, like you walked in kindergarten when the teacher told you to pretend to be an elephant. This didn’t strike me as funny, though. It made me angry. Rifle or no, Heck didn’t have the right to treat people like that. It turned out I wasn’t the only one who felt angry. All at once Jon swung round, colliding with Rick the custodian, and charged at Heck. Heck fired. A body crumpled and fell.

I ran to the office door, wrenching vainly at the knob. I’d taken CPR at school. I might be able to help, if I could just get out of here. I couldn’t see who’d fallen. Mr. Rafferty was in the way, leaning over and wailing. Heck forgot his command about crouching. He stood, aimed the rifle at Mr. Rafferty’s head, and yelled at him to shut up. Gina staggered away from them. She pressed her hands over her mouth. To stop from throwing up, I was guessing. Jon, I thought. It was Jon who got hit. Gina lurched behind the cosmetics counter. Lifting a wastebasket, she heaved into it. You had to give the girl marks for tidiness in the midst of a crisis. Most people would’ve just barfed anywhere. She glanced up and saw me. For an instant we stared at each other. Then somebody got up from the floor. Jon. It was the custodian who’d been shot. Jon pulled his dad aside, turning Mr. Rafferty away so he wouldn’t have to look at the body. But I got a clear view. Rick lay on the floor, motionless. Blood had soaked the chest of his gray overalls bright red. He was dead. I pressed my forehead against the glass and shut my eyes for a moment. When I opened them again, they were all watery. Now Heck was yelling at Jon, blaming him for what happened. Jon yelled right back. I had to hand it to Jon for nerve. Or else stupidity. Mr. Rafferty joined in, too, begging Jon not to make Heck mad. Setting the wastebasket down, Gina stepped out from behind the cosmetics counter. She hesitated, watching Heck, Jon and Mr. Rafferty. All three were so busy shouting, they didn’t notice her. Gina backed slowly down the aisle. At the first corner, she slid around and vanished. Good for Gina, I thought, even as I broke out in a fresh sweat on her behalf. I just hoped she could stay hidden. I had to get out of this office. I’ll smash the chair against the panes, I thought. That might work. Even if the chair just cracks the pane, I’ll kick the rest of the glass through. I grabbed the back of the black leather chair, then hesitated. Heck would hear the glass shatter. I’d be in his crosshairs in a matter of seconds. My grip on the chair leather loosened. My brain was hammering at me again. Your plan’s not practical. It won’t work. Accept the situation. You’re trapped on all sides. Outside the office, down the aisle, there was a sudden roar of rage. Heck had discovered one of his hostages was missing. I used the folded up blueprints to wipe my forehead. Heck would have a replacement hostage soon enough. Me. Trapped on all sides. Sides? I stared at the blueprints and thought of Alvin. My stepdad had something. Consider a building’s ins and outs. Sure, I couldn’t escape the office by any side route. But … I lifted my gaze to the ceiling.”

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Queen of Disguises

Queen of Disguises

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Raw Deal
Excerpt

Saturday, October 19, 10:02 a.m. She aims the gun at my heart. “Go on, Colin. Jump.” We’re on the Capilano Suspension Bridge. Far below, Capilano River swirls and foams over the jagged canyon rocks. I step sideways to glance down. The bridge sways. My guts twist. Ray steps sideways, too. In her white-knuckle grip, the gun follows me like a homing device. “You’re going to jump,” she says. “If you don’t, I’ll shoot you.” She can’t mean it, not with those picnickers back there, in the park. She can’t take the chance they’ll look up. She’s bluffing. She has to be. I think of that rushing current, those sharp, pointy rocks. “Forget it,” I tell her. Ray shrugs, and fires.

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Shadows on the Train

Shadows on the Train

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The Big Dip

The Big Dip

edition:Hardcover
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Excerpt

"There's a shooter around here," Skip said in my ear. His voice was choked. It was the first time I'd ever heard Skip sound so frightened. Usually he was so confident, so sunny. Nothing fazed him.

 

 

"Let's get outta here," he urged.

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The Man in the Moonstone

The Man in the Moonstone

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The Mask on Cruise Ship

The Mask on Cruise Ship

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The Mask on the Cruise Ship

The Mask on the Cruise Ship

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The Spy in Alley

The Spy in Alley

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The Spy in the Alley

The Spy in the Alley

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The Summer of the Spotted Owl

The Summer of the Spotted Owl

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Tick Tock Terror

Tick Tock Terror

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