The Body on the Beach -- Book Review & Giveaway


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. I am working with The Children's Book Review and Chris Wieland to bring you this post and giveaway.

One of my all-time favorite genres for books is a mystery. I love Mary Higgins Clark novels!! I couldn't wait to get my hands on them. I have explored many different mystery authors and really just love them all. Today I get to share a middle school mystery novel with you, and it is amazing!! The book is The Body on the Beach by Chris Wieland. It is recommended for ages 9 and up. 

About the Book:

The Body on the Beach: A Kat Dylan Mystery Written by Chris Wieland and Illustrated by Leanne Franson

Ages 9+ | 360 Pages | Publisher: The Smart Aleck Press (2023) | ISBN-13: 9798985701326

Publisher’s Book Summary: In this sequel to 2022’s The Crabtree Monsters, thirteen-year-old girl detective Kat Dylan and her little brother, Alec, are back!

Even after cracking the case of the century, Kat and Alec are still stuck in Crabtree, Michigan, and suffering through a long, cold Midwest winter. When Gabby, a middle school “mean girl,” approaches her with a problem, Kat can’t imagine it’s worth her time—or that there’s a chance Gabby’s problems will lead to the next big mystery. But when Gabby becomes the focus of the local police, especially Kat’s Grandpa Nick, her interest is piqued. Before Kat can get to the bottom of things, she finds Gabby lying dead on Crabtree’s frozen beach.

Suddenly, Kat is awash in questions. Who killed Gabby? Could Kat have saved her if she’d paid closer attention to the mean girl’s troubles? From there, Kat, with Alec in tow, sets out to find answers and bring the murderer to justice. Along the way, she learns that Gabby’s case is tied to another investigation: the kidnapping of a rich kid from Chicago whose family is intertwined with the people who own most of Crabtree.

As she and Alec dig, they find themselves at odds with kidnappers and killers, private eyes and cops, and more than a few kids and adults who would just like them to go away.


Chris Wieland is an award-winning writer and filmmaker. He is also the father of two fierce children, including a tough, smart tween who helped him find the voice of his protagonist, Kat Dylan. He lives in Southern California with his family.

For more information, visit

From Me:

What makes a good mystery? For me the book has to grab you and keep you turning the pages. This book does just that. You don't want to put it down. I am saying that as an adult reading it. I can only imagine how much the kids will get into it. It is a well written novel with a great story line. Although as a mother I cannot imagine the kids actually being left in Crabtree with their grandfather and not sent home to Los Angeles to live with their parents. However, since the entire family are police officers, I guess it doesn't matter much. I feel like this book is the Nancy Drew for this new generation. Only Nancy Drew has male sidekicks now! When Hazel wanted to read Nancy Drew, she had trouble connecting with the older girl who could drive and such. When she read the younger version she liked them, but they were below her reading level. She would have loved this book back in her middle grades reading days. It takes the reading of Nancy Drew and gives the kids a thirteen-year-old to relate to. It is perfect!

The story itself is wonderful. I love how Kat is disgusted by the murder and upset that an eighth grader was murdered. The murder is dealt with in such a manner that doesn't make it fun or something you want to see. Kat is truly troubled by having found the body and by having known the victim. She wants to make sure no one else is hurt including the wealthy boy who has been kidnapped that she hasn't even met. She emphasizes that kids should not be dying. In a time where so much violence and death can be glorified by our young, it is important that they get a real vision of what it is like. I really liked how Chris Wieland dealt with it for the readers. Kat is truly troubled by it all. 

Overall, I can say I truly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it. It is a great read, and I can see kids enjoying the story as well as trying to solve the mystery. I can see it being a great book for a child to read on his or her own but also for a class to discuss many of the various topics within it. I did not read the first Kat Dylan Mystery but would love to. The writing level is high quality and this story is told very well. I hope you check it out! 


Enter for the chance to win signed copies of both Kat Dylan Mysteries (The Crabtree Monsters and The Body on the Beach) and a $50 Barnes & Noble gift card!

One (1) grand prize winner receives:
  • A signed copy of The Crabtree Monsters
  • A signed copy of The Body on the Beach
  • A $50 Barnes & Noble gift card.

Four (4) winners receive:
  • A signed copy of The Body on the Beach

The Body on the Beach Book Giveaway