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Extended Audio Sample The Big Splash, by Jack D. Ferraiolo Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (188 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Jack D. Ferraiolo Narrator: Sean Schemmel Publisher: Scholastic Inc Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Matt Stevens is as tough as a steak from the school cafeteria. He’s a seventh-grade private eye, and he just did something he said he’d never do. He accepted a job from Vincent “Vinny Biggs” Biggio, the kid behind every illegal deal made at Franklin Middle School, from black market candy to forged hall passes.

You see, life at the Frank is tough. Get on the wrong side of Vinny Biggs and you’ll find yourself in the Outs, the least popular “club” in school. How do you get there? Water (or any other liquid) strategically splattered below your belt for maximum humiliation.

When Nicole Finnegan, a.k.a. Nikki Fingers, the most feared squirt-gun assassin at the Frank, is put in the Outs, Matt feels partially to blame and is determined to find the trigger kid. Problem is, Nikki has more enemies than a snitch during a final exam. Every kid in school is a suspect, including Kevin Carling, Matt’s former best friend and the current right-hand man to Vinny Biggs. Matt had better watch his back, and especially his front, as he tackles a case with more twists than a candy addict on a swivel chair.
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Quotes & Awards

  • The Big Splash will make you laugh out loud.”

    Jeff Kinney, New York Times bestselling author of Diary of a Wimpy Kid

  • “As in any proper noir, the story is marked by twists and turns, and the writing is cynical and tough, riddled with the sort of hard-boiled jargon you expect from a B movie…Much of the thrill of this novel—and it is entertaining and thrilling—comes from its vision of a world in which kids play all the adult roles: they run the mobs, write the articles, chase the killers, haunt the (kid-owned) saloons, punish the (kid-committed) crimes.”

    New York Times

  • “Twists and curve balls keep readers guessing; extended jokes like one about a petty thief’s desperate need for cash (“On the surface, Peter was a happy-go-lucky model student, but underneath, he had a dirty little secret. He was a Pixy Stixer”) will keep them laughing. With crisp prose and surprisingly poignant moments, Ferraiolo’s debut entertains on many levels.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “As Matt ferrets out a water pistol sniper, narrator Sean Schemmel nails his narration. Teenage criminal kingpin Vinny boasts a raspy menace. Hall monitor Katie, drunk on power, dominates her scenes with brute force. Throughout, Schemmel presents Matt as a clever character seeking justice in a world gone wild. Listeners will shiver when Schemmel reproduces the giggles and screams of the victims. Mild cursing adds a startling, if realistic, effect. The Big Splash triumphs as an edgy detective story reminiscent of film noir.”


  • “Delivers plenty of laughs, especially in the opening chapters, and fans of private-eye spoofs will enjoy this entertaining read.”


  • “Well paced, funny, and suspenseful, with some real commentary on bullying and mob mentality, this book will have fans eagerly awaiting the next installment in this faux noir detective series.”

    School Library Journal

  • “[Ferraiolo is] great at moving the action along and providing comic book characterizations and humor. Each character is more devious and intelligent than most of us, regardless of age. The resolution of the story is a shocker that makes sense but comes out of nowhere—Ferraiolo has taken us down, in a matter of speaking. Good fun.”


  • “This fabulous mystery will have teens laughing and racing to get to the last page…Readers will enjoy this funny mystery, written in the spirit of classic noir detective novels of the 1930s and 1940s. Everyone has a catchy nickname, and the witty banter is endless…A great whodunit.”


  • Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award
  • A 2009 Edgar Allan Poe Award Nominee for Best Young Adult Novel

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Manisha | 1/18/2014

    " This was a pretty good YA read although I think 11 year old Nihal enjoyed it more than I. Really does a nice job addressing intricacies of the social structure when kids are in middle school and at times very clever. 3.5 stars. Fast read! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Ruth | 1/7/2014

    " A very fun MS detective romp that every MS boy, and girl, will relate to, recognizing themselves or fellow classmates in the characters. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Virginia Davis | 1/6/2014

    " It's okay. I liked the detective angle, the "noir" flavor, some of the humor. I'm not sure how much of the "noir" flavor or humor middle school kids will get. I was a bit put off by the amount of bullying, mistreatment of students by students. It seemed to me that so much activity like this could go on in a school building with little or no intervention by faculty or staff - a bit too incredulous. Again, maybe this is aspect is something that would not bother middle school readers. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Heather | 1/3/2014

    " Such a clever book - I love the voices and settings and the general aura of noir. I had the guilty party pegged pretty quickly, but had no idea what the motive was, so I enjoyed watching the case unfold. The plot revolves around bullies and bullying and, if I'm recalling correctly, the book has a couple of swear words but nothing else that might be considered questionable. This one will be enjoyed by middle schoolers who like their mysteries believable or who are intrigued by popularity, cliques, and bullying. I am looking forward to reading The Quick Fix. "

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About the Author
Author Jack D. Ferraiolo

Jack D. Ferraiolo is the author of The Big Splash and Sidekicks. As the head of development at a children’s animation production company, he has developed and writes for WordGirl on PBS, for which he won an Emmy Award. He lives in northern Massachusetts.