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Riley Mack Stirs Up More Trouble  Riley Mack and the Other Known Troublemakers

Riley Mack Caper #1

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What do you get when you add up:

1 middle-school bully
2 bank robbers
57 dogs in peril
4,000 missing dollars
5 daring troublemakers
led by the
1 and only
Riley Mack?


When former improvisational comedian and screenwriter turned award-winning mystery author Chris Grabenstein writes a kid's book, he delivers page-turning plot twists, pitch-perfect dialogue, and one-liners that pepper the text like exploding firecrackers. Riley Mack and the Other Known Troublemakers, the first book in a hilarious new action-adventure series, is a classic crime caper, a funny, fast-paced mystery/comedy with lovable characters, non-stop action—and a barnful of dogs.

Seventh-grade mastermind Riley Mack and his best buds always come to the rescue when family or friends are in trouble, even if it takes some high-octane subterfuge and fifty pounds of dog food. Kids ages 8-12 will root for Riley and his "Gnat Pack": tech-savvy Jake, dramatic Brianna, big-guy Mongo, and brainy Jamal. They'll hiss for the bad guys, too—the bully Gavin Brown; his father, Fairview's crooked police chief; his conniving grandmother, who runs a filthy puppy mill; and Fairview's gambling-addicted bank manager, who tries to frame Riley's mom. Throw in one stolen goldendoodle, two bumbling bank robbers, and plenty of duct tape, and the action never flags.

Riley Mack and the Other Known Troublemakers will have readers snorting soda out their noses, proving once again that Grabenstein is a master at concocting irresistible stories for middle-grade readers.


IndieBound | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million
HarperCollins Children's | ChildrensBookstore.com

BUY THE eBook:
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To purchase a personalized copy, please contact:
Book Culture on Columbus
450 Columbus Avenue
New York, NY, 10024
Phone 212-595-1962

HarperCollins Children's, Hardcover, April 2012, ISBN-13: 978-0062026200



 Read the first three chapters
 Read about the Riley Mack book launch (PDF)
 Check out The Riley Mack Study Guide
 Meet the real Riley!
 Meet Fred!
 See what the Humane Society says about puppy mills

Known Troublemaker Known Troublemaker

Let the world know you're a "Known Trouble Maker"!
with fun T-Shirts and Buttons


Riley Mack Trailer



"When a stand-up comedian sits down to write a book, you can bet it will be funny. And Riley Mack is funny."
—Ted Bell, New York Times bestselling author of The Time Pirate

"Riley Mack is my new best friend! Chris Grabenstein writes with humor and heart, and I found myself glued to the pages!"
—Wendy Mass, award-winning author of A Mango-Shaped Space

"This book is funny and smart, filled with adventurous exploits and a cast of crazy characters. Kids from eight up will enjoy every page filled with daring action led by Riley, who isn't a troublemaker at all, but the town hero."
—City Book Review (read the full review)

"Readers will have a blast following the comical adventures of seventh-grader Riley Mack and his friends, the Gnat Pack."
—The Seattle Times

"Chris Grabenstein's Riley Mack and the Other Known Troublemakers is a fun romp. It's funny and filled with great characters. The villains are truly nasty and a little stupid. The group of heroes are appealing characters. Chris Grabenstein has been one of favorite authors since I read his first John Ceepak mystery. He continues to win my loyalty with every book. Now, he's added one of my favorite sub-genres to his repertoire, the comic crime caper. Share this book with a kid you love. But, do yourself a favor. If you enjoy a comic adventure, read it for yourself."
—Lesa Holstine, librarian and blogger

"I really liked Riley Mack and highly recommend it. The story features Riley Mack, the 12 year old leader of the "Gnat Pack" a group of known troublemakers. It is funny, cunning, well put together, exciting and just pure awesome. It was cunning because "The Gnat Pack" always comes up with awesome ideas to outwit evildoers and thwart the bullies! The characters are such a good combination. Some are geniuses others are actresses and others are just plain mean, but all together, they work together perfectly."
—Lily, age 10

Riley Mack Kidsday Review

"The author puts a lot of details into this story. He adds serious issues and also makes the story fun and enjoyable. This fun-loving, heart-touching book is one I would recommend." —Pragati Muthukumar, age 11, Kidsday Reporter
(read the full review)

"If you are looking for non-required summer reading to capture the attention of a middle-grader, possibly even a reluctant reader, then Riley Mack and the Other Known Troublemakers is a perfect fit. With a background in improv comedy, author Chris Grabenstein lets that wit shine through in this wacky, comedic adventure.
According to the local police chief, Riley Mack is a Known Troublemaker. Riley's first encounter with the police was right after his dad was deployed to Afghanistan. Angry and lost, Riley shoplifted an ice cream cake. Since then, he has decided to use his skills for good and has rounded up a band of other troublemakers—Mongo, Briana, and Jake—forming what the chief calls the Gnat Pack. After they save a new fifth-grader, Jamal, from a bully (who just happens to be the chief's son), Jamal (an expert lock-picker) tells the Gnat Pack about a rash of thefts among fifth-graders.
But the Gnat Pack has a bigger crime to solve—the dognapping of Mongo's new goldendoodle puppy. When the dog's collar shows up among stolen items being sold at a booth run by the chief's mother, the kids stumble onto a puppy mill. Always wanting to save those in trouble, these troublemakers concoct a scheme to rescue the dogs. And if that were not enough, they will also take down an embezzler and stop a bank robbery!
Riley Mack and the Other Known Troublemakers is non-stop fun. The action never once lags and the hilarity just keeps coming. This combination is certain to keep even a reluctant middle-grade reader engaged. The pacing is perfect, allowing the pages to just fly by. And while Riley might go about things in a very unorthodox way, what he stands for—helping those in need—makes him a great role model for middle-schoolers. Chris Grabenstein has a winner with Riley Mack and the Other Known Troublemakers. Hopefully this is the start of a fresh new middle grade series."
—Ricki Marking-Camuto, Bookloons.com

"What a super cute book! Riley Mack was a fun read. You know what it really reminded me of—the Disney movies I grew up with! Really!
Here's what I liked:

  • It started off right away! Love the whole beginning scene where the bully is taken down
  • Although the kids were a bit unrealistic I could completely buy into them. And they were LIKABLE! Many times in a book like this the characters will be so over the top that I can't like them. I didn't have that problem in this book. Riley was great and so was his team of various characters.
  • There were parents! Yes actual parents in the book. The mom in particular was great. It was nice to see that the parents were OK and not completely left out.
  • It has dogs! I love dogs, so how could I not love it. And then the cute little shaky French bulldog. Awwwwww!
  • It's a "caper". You know those stories. Bad guys. Good guys. A plan to stop the bad guys. Lots of action some of it silly. Again—reminds me of a Disney movie!!!!
  • Equal parts boy and girl book. Love that even tho the main character is a boy (Riley) so that will appeal to boys, there are some great girl characters (Briana) so girls will like it too. I'm always looking for more books like that.
  • I love books where the kids take the lead and save the day. And that definitely happens here.
  • Riley is such a great leader and planner, but one that lets others shine too. What a great role model! It seems like there are several TV shows where the main characters is kinda yucky and rude and you don't see that here at all. It's refreshing! Plus it's makes it a great book for me to recommend to my students.

OK as you can see I liked the book. It's fun. It has a bunch of action so it keeps the readers interested and reading (a plus for those reluctant readers!)."
—Jill, 7th Grade English Teacher & Blogger at The O.W.L.

"Told with great humor and characters you want to get to know better, Riley Mack puts cool into doing good and standing up for the little guy."
—The Field Guide to Parenting Blog (read the full review)

"The hilarious first entry in a new middle-grade book series for kids, Riley Mack and the Other Known Troublemakers provides the perfect combination of old-school kid hijinks and modern computer-based intrigue. Riley's seventh-grade friends easily fit the mold of a junior Mission Impossible team with mastermind Riley, strong kid Mondo, tech wizard Jake, locksmith Jamal, and actress of a thousand faces (and voices) Briana. And while the kids' schemes inevitably cause huge messes, their sense of justice ultimately make them admirable heroes. A great choice for fans of Clifford B. Hicks' Alvin Fernald series or Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events."
—Michael Jung, Suite101.com (read the full review)

"A fun and adventure-filled story that will have you cheering on Riley and his crew as they clean out the bad people in town."
—Christina Lewis, Bookshelf.com

"Riley Mack and the Other Known Troublemakers is very current, with references to texting and pop culture, but still manages to feel somewhat timeless with underlying themes of friendship, small-town adventures and standing up for what's right. With its fast-paced dialogue, techy lingo and entertaining characters, the story moves along quickly."
—Melissa G., ABC-7's "Sweet on Books" (read the full review)

"Adults, who studiously avoid middle-grade books as being too juvenile for their tastes, may have to reconsider their position with respect to Riley Mack. This is one entertaining adventure, written at a level appropriate for its intended audience yet completely suitable for older readers looking for a fast, fun story. The action is nearly non-stop, jumping from one crime-related plot thread to another, but wholly centered on the character of Riley Mack. There are more than a few laugh-out-loud scenes, and the dialog, especially from Riley, is frequently wry and witty. Middle-grade readers will be entertained simply following along with Riley—or, more likely, imagining themselves as the character—as he rights the wrongs of his town, getting into trouble—sort of, but not really—all along the way.
There is no indication that this is the first of a series, but it would be a crime, as it were, not to bring Riley back for a second set of adventures. Riley Mack and the Other Known Troublemakers is highly recommended for kids ... and their parents."
—Hidden Staircase Mystery Books (read the full review)

"Part mystery, part comedy, part crime caper, this first book in a new series offers some escapist fun. Like his father, an active-duty soldier stationed in Afghanistan, seventh-grader Riley Mack defends 'those who cannot defend themselves.' With a group of other 'known troublemakers,' he orchestrates, and carries out, elaborate capers to thwart bullies and seek justice. When a lost dog leads the crew to a cruel puppy mill run by the town's crooked police chief, Riley and his pals must pull off their most difficult and dangerous rescue mission yet. The mood is madcap, with cartoon characters taking part in far-fetched situations. Over-the-top, cheeky dialogue comes fast and furious, to the likely delight of many readers. This sort of goofiness will play well to a read-aloud audience. A briskly plotted tale with a light touch, Riley Mack will please dog lovers and those with a hankering for action mixed with laughs."
—Travis Jonker, School Library Journal