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September 19, 2023
A Kids’ Court Whodunit #6
Middle-Grade / Mystery
Date Published: 09-29-2023
A missing ladder. A relentless bully. Can the junior lawyer uncover the
truth before chaos erupts?
Luana Porcello has discovered a new love: volunteering at the community dog
pound. Still, as much as she enjoys working with animals, law remains her
true passion. So, when the local bully accuses his neighbor of theft, she
happily resumes her attorney role, confident of her client’s
But as Luana gets to work, a formidable wall of evidence stands against her
client, from physical proof linking him to the alleged crime scene to an
eyewitness who insists he saw the accused commit the deed. Undeterred by the
odds stacked against her, Luana is relentless in her quest to vindicate her
client. Will her determination be enough to tip the scales of justice in
Bully for You!
“I’m Only going to say this once. Gimme back my ladder, or
you’ll be sorry.” Billy Green hardened his jaw as he glowered at
the small boy.
“But I don’t have it!” Adam Garcia rubbed his sweaty
palms on his green t-shirt.
“You’re lying.” Billy clenched his fists and fought
against the urge to hit the boy.
Adam’s eyes darted around the park, searching for an escape. But
there was none. Billy and his companions had him trapped in a deserted area.
“I didn’t take your ladder, Billy. Honest, I
“I didn’t take your ladder, Billy. Honest,” one of
Billy’s friends parroted mockingly.
A fourth boy laughed, and Billy twisted his lips. He would have found
Evan’s mocking impression of Adam hilarious at any other time, but not
now. Now, Billy was angry. Someone had taken his ladder—he was sure
that someone was Adam—and was determined to get it back.
The four boys were in the playground at Oakdale Park, a vast compound on
the outskirts of downtown Oakdale with tennis courts, basketball courts, a
swimming pool, and more.
Adam gulped and tugged at the neck of his t-shirt. He wasn’t sure how
he would get out of this mess. He didn’t know Billy well but knew he
and his friends were troublemakers. Adam’s eyes continued scanning the
area, desperately looking for a miracle. He noticed the grass was still damp
from the night’s heavy rainfall and the deep shadows surrounding them
where they were in the shade of the climbing wall. What Adam didn’t
see was another person. That was no surprise, as when he’d arrived at
the park earlier, he’d purposely chosen this area because of the
isolation. Adam had wanted to be alone. That decision had been a mistake.
Adam bit the inside of his cheek and peeked at his tormentor.
“I’ll give you till the count of five.” Billy towered
over Adam. “If you don’t tell me where my ladder is by the time
I finish, you’ll pay. One. Two. Three.” He counted off each
number on the fingers of his right hand.
Adam hunched over, squeezed his eyes shut, and awaited his fate. A fleeting
urge to run overcame him, but he couldn’t outrun Billy. Despite being
overweight, Billy was fast, and running away would only make him angrier.
Adam knew he’d pay once Billy caught up to him. No, it was better to
stay put and accept his doom. Besides, he and Billy were neighbors, so it
wasn’t like Adam could hide from the boy.
Meanwhile, Luana Porcello and her best friend, Phoebe Chen, rode along one
of the many bike paths that wove throughout the park grounds. The girls were
on their way home after spending the morning at the Oakdale Animal Shelter
orientation for new volunteers. Their friend, Carmen Diaz, a long-time
volunteer at the shelter, had been showing them the ropes.
Phoebe noticed the four boys in the distance as they turned a corner, and
the playground appeared. She recognized Billy and his cronies and slowed her
bike. “I wonder what’s going on over there?”
Luana’s brow creased as she followed Phoebe’s gaze with her
eyes. “Hmm. I doubt it’s anything good.”
“That’s for sure. Billy Green and those two he hangs with are
bad news, and they have that poor kid outnumbered.” She glanced at
Luana. “Maybe we should go find out what’s going on. He might
need help. What do you think?” Without waiting for an answer, Phoebe
changed directions and pedaled toward the playground.
“Phoebe! Wait!” Luana increased her speed, trying to catch up
to her friend. Sometimes, she wished Phoebe would think before she
About the Author
Caron Pescatore was born in the United Kingdom. She spent most of her
childhood in Jamaica before migrating to the United States. After practicing
as a registered nurse for many years, Caron decided to enter law school,
obtaining her J.D. in 2001. She worked as an attorney for several years
before leaving the profession to become a stay-at-home mom—her most
challenging career to date. She recently resumed working as an attorney at
Legal Aid, representing people from marginalized communities. Ms. Pescatore
is passionate about justice and fairness for all, a sentiment that led, in
part, to her decision to write the Kids’ Court Whodunit series. Her
favorite pastimes are reading, writing, and watching true-crime shows. She
also recently discovered a love of painting using stencils. At present, Ms.
Pescatore lives in Florida with her husband and two children.