I couldn’t think of a better way to start the month than a featured review of a new book by one of our past MMGM contributors, Fleur Bradley. I’m also the first stop on an ambitious blog tour. Check out the schedule below after you read my review.

MIDNIGHT AT THE BARCLAY HOTEL has everything you’d want in a good old fashioned murder mystery (or I should say “young fashioned”). You’ll find a growing list of suspects, three kid detectives, and a secluded locale in the Colorado Mountains.

The 52 chapters move along at a perfect pace and the story will have you wanting to finish the book in one sitting. I didn’t, but reading a few chapters quickly turned into six or seven. It was rather addicting.

Innocent or not, each of the characters have a secret they don’t want to reveal. I changed my mind a half dozen times as to who I thought committed the dastardly deed. The children all have engaging personalities. JJ dislikes reading but wants to be a ghost hunter. Penny loves to read and wants to follow in her granddad’s footsteps and become a detective. Emma is a resident at the hotel and is just happy to have other kids visiting. Together they try and solve the whodunit.

A fun, engaging read.

Here’s the official synopsis:

When JJ Jacobson convinced his mom to accept a surprise invitation to an all-expenses-paid weekend getaway at the illustrious Barclay Hotel, he never imagined that he’d find himself in the midst of a murder mystery. He thought he was in for a run-of-the-mill weekend ghost hunting at the most haunted spot in town, but when he arrives at the Barclay Hotel and his mother is blamed for the hotel owner’s death, he realizes his weekend is going to be anything but ordinary.

Now, with the help of his new friends, Penny and Emma, JJ has to track down a killer, clear his mother’s name, and maybe even meet a ghost or two along the way.



  1. Colorado in the winter is the perfect choice for a mystery, especially when the characters are trapped at a haunted hotel in the middle of a snowstorm.
  2. No overly scary moments. Some MG mysteries’ main purpose is to frighten readers, but here it is all about figuring out the guilty party.
  3. The illustrations scattered throughout added a visual element readers will enjoy. They each give more life to an already great story.
  4. The mystery is divided into four parts. LIARS, LIARS; MOTIVE; THE MISSING PUZZLE PIECE; and the climatic ending MIDNIGHT AT THE BARCLAY HOTEL. A nice way to frame the plot.
  5. This was even more fun for me as I have spent some time at the famed and very haunted Stanley Hotel in Colorado.


I grew up in the Netherlands (you can look up where that is on the map), where I spent my childhood riding my bike, catching tadpoles, and reading Pippi Longstocking and Roald Dahl books. I loved to read, and I loved to draw, too. My very favorite book was The BFG by Roald Dahl. I would read under the covers well past my bedtime, secretly hoping for the BFG to knock on my window. 
But somewhere along the way (around my high school years), I sort of lost the passion for reading. It wasn’t until I was given a paperback thriller many years later that I caught the reading bug again. After reading many, many mysteries and thrillers, I decided to try my hand at writing (I was pretty bad at it at first, to be honest). It took a long time before some of my short mysteries started appearing in small press magazines, which encouraged me to keep writing. (For more visit the author’s web site)


Check out all the upcoming stops on MIDNIGHT AT THE BARCLAY HOTEL Blog Tour:

Aug. 11th: An interview at MG Bookvillage

Aug 14th: Book review at Charlotte’s Library

Aug. 16th: Guest post: Fleur talks about reaching reluctant readers at Unleashing Readers

Aug. 17th: Review at Secret Files of Fairday Morrow blog

Aug. 18th: Review and giveaway at MG Mojo

Aug. 19th.: Interview and giveaway at From the Mixed-Up Files

Aug. 21st: Book review at Our Thoughts Precisely.

Aug. 23rd: Interview and giveaway at Spooky MG

Aug. 24th: Interview at YA Booknerd

Aug. 25thWriters Digest Author Spotlight

Sept. 4th : Fleur talks about getting out of your comfort zone on Kirby Larson’s blog

Sept. 8th: Fleur outlines how to develop a compelling MG concept at Writers Digest


(I received an ARC in exchange for my honest review. Comments are welcome below:)

ALSO: The winner of my recent giveaway of DAN UNMASKED is June McCrary Jacobs. Congratulations and enjoy the book!

About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...always striving to reach the next peak in my life and career.
This entry was posted in Middle Grade Book Reviews, New Release and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. schmelzb says:

    Thank you for the “heads up” about F. T. Bradley and her MG mysteries. Could you please post the quickest way to navigate your site so we readers don’t have to go back to the beginning each time?

    • Hi! Thanks for stopping by. I’m only guessing as to what you mean by the beginning. My most recent post shows up first. There is a link above that title that can take you to the next post. You’ll see that on every page.
      MMGM links always open up to a separate new page so you can keep the MMGM page open. The links take you to other sites and they often link back to the MMGM page.
      The category section to the right side of any page can help condense what is on my site. Click on MMGM links or Middle Grade Book Reviews and you get a page of condensed posts.
      Hope that helps or if not let me know what you’d like to see as a navigation tool to get around Always in the Middle.

      • schmelzb says:

        Thank you for your response. I looked up to my navigation bar and all the blog reviews were waiting for me! DUH!! Must be Corona brain,..Loved all the early August reviews from your bloggers!

  2. K.A. Cummins says:

    Twists and turns are the best part of a good mystery. Trying to solve the puzzle and figure out the who’s, how’s, and why’s. Makes for a fun read. And it sounds like this mystery has plenty of them!

  3. Diane T says:

    What a fun sounding read. I’ll be adding this one to my son’s next book purchase.

  4. Congratulations to the author on this upcoming release! This sounds like a book I would enjoy as I’ve been a fan of mysteries since I was a middle-grader. The cover art is appealing. Thanks for sharing this one on MMGM, Greg. Also, I’m excited to be the giveaway winner of last week’s treasure–thanks. :0}

  5. Completely Full Bookshelf says:

    Congrats to Ms. Bradley on her book! It sounds excellent—I’ve read a few MG mysteries, but never any with ghosts (or at least potential ones). Thanks for the great review! (And thanks for the spotlight on the MMGM page!)

  6. Congratulations to Fleur on her new release and book launch! Would have loved this book as a teen. I love the fact the focus is on the problem solving. Your comment about only intending to read a few chapters and ending up reading the first seven, says that she must great cliffhangars at the end of each chapter. Sounds like a fun read

  7. Natalie Aguirre says:

    What a great sounding story. And I love mysteries. I just reserved it at my library. Thanks so much for letting us know about it.

  8. fleurbradley says:

    Many thanks for the kind words, and for kicking off the blog tour! I hope everyone gets to read MIDNIGHT AT THE BARCLAY HOTEL–I’m so proud of this book.

  9. Danielle Hammelef says:

    I enjoy mysteries, especially middle grade ones, so this book will be fun to read.

  10. Thanks for this great review. I love a good middle grade mystery and was just thinking how I’ve missed reading them lately. I will definitely be on the lookout for this one..

  11. This one looks good. I think it’s cool that you were at that hotel. (Or the one that it’s based on.) Very cool!

  12. Stephanie@Fairday's Blog says:

    I have read and enjoyed other books by Bradley. I actually have this ARC and just started it- so I didn’t read your whole review (didn’t want any spoilers). But- I am so glad to hear you enjoyed it! I will come back after I finish and read your review. 🙂

  13. Brenda says:

    This sounds soooo good, especially love the nods to Colorado. Defiantly have this on my radar now!

  14. Who doesn’t love a good mystery? I know I do. I like the setting of winter in Colorado. It brings to mind a certain Stephen King novel. Thanks for your review. I will be looking for this one.

  15. S.A. Larsen says:

    Loved it! I’ll be interviewing Fleur on our Spooky Middle Grade blog on the 23rd! So much fun.

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