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"The Crabtree Monsters is a hard-hitting, gritty middle-grade novel that grips readers from the very first page."



Moving from Los Angeles to a small town in Michigan is the last thing thirteen-year-old Kat Dylan wants to do. Crabtree has seen better days and isn’t what you’d call welcoming. Worse, she and her little brother, Alec, have to live with her gruff Grandpa Nick, the town’s police chief.

Then Kat and Alec find themselves in the middle of a bank holdup by the Monster Gang—four robbers in monster masks. Afterward, Grandpa Nick goes to jail, accused of being one of the Monsters himself.

Kat’s determined to find out who the men are behind the masks, and she’s going to need help. But exposing the robbers could have big consequences. Kat will have to make tough choices, including some that are a matter of life and death.


Coming Soon: "The Body On The Beach"

The second Kat Dylan mystery!

Life’s a mystery when you’re thirteen . . . 

And that’s before you try to solve a bank robbery.

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Chris Wieland

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. 

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“Wieland has created quite the lively hero in Kat—a teenager with a crackling sense of humor who’s not afraid of a fight and has a talent for investigation . . . A funny, adventurous tale of a girl who turns small-town sleuth.”


—Kirkus Reviews

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“A hard-hitting, gritty middle-grade novel that grips readers from the very first page. . . . Smart, tough, and determined, Kat is a fantastic protagonist—easy to relate to and invest in. . . . An engrossing read.”


—The Children’s Book Review

"If you know readers who enjoy mystery, danger, action, and perhaps a bit of a teenage crush as part of the story, then give them a copy of The Crabtree Monsters.

This is especially good for those who appreciate a proactive female protagonist.

As Kat wonders, 'Why do boys - cute or otherwise - always think girls need saving?' Then she goes out and takes charge."

- The Fairview Review

“I was hooked from the first chapter. … (Wieland) has most definitely gained a fan. Can’t wait to see what he comes up with next!”

- The Momma Spot

"I read this book with my 11 and 9 year old sons, and we thought it was a great read .... Kat and Alec are a hysterical brother/sister team."

- Because I Said So blog

"Revolving around tough teenage girl Kat Dylan and her ten-year-old brother Alec, The Crabtree Monsters is a captivating, action-packed mystery thriller spiced with brilliant humor that gets the readers chuckling."

- Ice Fairy's Treasure Chest

"A perfect, attention-grabbing story .... Kat is a character you want to cheer for innovative, fun read for any age with a strong female character that will speak to any reader who (rightly) thought they were more intelligent than the adults around them."

- JR's Book Reviews

"The book was a page-turner all the way to the end. Kids are going to love this exciting mystery book."

- Lisa's Reviews

In The Press
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  • Available Now
    Click the Details link to go to the podcast
    Available Now
    Click the Details link to go to the podcast
    Available Now
    Click the Details link to go to the podcast
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© 2022 by The Smart Aleck Press/Chris Wieland

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