Title: The Con Code
Publication Date: August 25th 2020
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery, Young Adult
A teen forger and thief forms a criminal crew from her high school friends (and crush) to perform a series of heists leading to the location of her missing mother in this action-packed contemporary YA novel.
By day, seventeen-year-old Fiona Spangler runs small cons for her ritzy prep-school classmates: getting them out of tests and forging fake hall passes. But by night, Fiona joins her dad on riskier heists: stealing back the clue-filled forgeries her mom scattered across the country before she disappeared. Fiona desperately hopes that her mother will be waiting at the end of the scavenger hunt she left behind.
And they are SO close. Just three more heists remain, but then disaster strikes when Fiona’s dad is captured by the FBI. Desperate to finish the job and save what’s left of her family, Fiona assembles of crew of teen criminals: a master of disguise who can transform into anyone, a talented hacker who only communicates in glares, and a rival con artist with a vendetta against—and possible crush on—Fiona.
All they have to do is perform three nearly impossible heists, solve her mother’s incredibly complex clues, and evade the FBI. Easy, right?
Some students spend their spring break working extra hours at the mall. I’m spending mine pulling a different kind of job.
I pause in front of the hotel cleaning cart and clear my throat until the maid inside the room takes notice of me.
“It’s show time,” Dad says, and I swear I hear the crunch of popcorn in my ear as he watches on the hacked security feed from the surveillance van.
“Excuse me.” I crane my neck toward the maid. My hands vibrate, but I knock some sense into them by slapping them against my varsity jacket.
The maid sets down her rag and bottle of cleaning spray and ambles toward me in her beige top, brown pants, dark hair slicked back in bun so tight, it tugs on her skin like horse reins.
“I’m so sorry to bother you.” I force myself to inject sweetness into my tone instead of my usual default setting of snark. “But we’re out of towels in room 323.”
Her dark eyes roam over my body as though I might have smuggled contraband in with me. Cash. Diamonds. The crown jewels.
My pasted smile wavers, and my heart starts to beat a little faster. “Please.” Please fall for this.
“I’ll swing by your room in ten minutes. Wait there.” She shoos me away with her hand.
My jaw twitches. I bite down on my tongue. “I, um—”
There’s silence in my earpiece even though this is the one moment I need advice.
“I really need to shower. Right now.” My pulse pounds, sharp and loud. I can’t falter. Not with my dad watching. Not with so much riding on this. What would my dad do in this situation? He’d blabber. “You see, my boyfriend. He’s about to arrive. And it’s going to be a special night.” Oh God. I can’t believe I’m saying this with my dad listening. “And I really want to shower before he—”
The maid grunts in annoyance and plucks two towels from the storage compartment beneath her cart. The tension drains from my shoulders. When she hands me the towels, I spin fast to accidentally bump her in the shoulder before she has a chance to head back into the room. The towels fly from my hands, and we both bend down to pick them up. I knock into her again accidentally (on purpose). If this were a romantic comedy, we would have just experienced the cutest meet-cute that ever existed.
“Sorry! I’m such a klutz.” I let out a self-deprecating laugh. While she helps gather the towels and the movement distracts her, my hand snakes out and lifts her master key card from her waist. I tuck it into my jacket pocket and stand up. “Thank you. Seriously.”
Rule #3: Criminals have to get really good at being polite.
“Nice save, but we’re going to have a little talk later about boy- friends and hotel rooms,” Dad says.
“Don’t worry, Dad.” I hustle back toward the ice machine. “If I ever manage to snag one of those elusive creatures, I’ll be sure to sneak around and hide him from you. Word on the street is I’m really good at that.”
Shana Silver studied creative writing at Syracuse University. She’s been a computer animator, an e-book creator for a major publisher, and now works as a Project Manager in digital and TV advertising where she enjoys telling people what to do. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, young daughter, and the characters she dreams up. MIND GAMES is her debut novel. THE CON CODE comes out in Summer 2020.
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