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The CS Detective: An Algorithmic Tale of Crime, Conspiracy, and Computation Review by Jacquelin Caffey

Jeremy Kubica
No Starch Press, Inc.
245 8th Street
San Francisco, CA 94103

Mystery, intrigue, and computer science? That’s what you will find in this thrilling computer science book about algorithmic concepts. I was immediately interested in this book for my 16-year-old daughter who will be taking a computer science class early next year. Instead of giving it to her now, I read it because it will be a part of her Christmas book stack under the tree.

We are introduced to Frank Runtime, a disgraced ex-detective, who just so happens to be a search expert too. The story tells of how Frank uses his hard-boiled private eye skills to catch the culprits of a recent robbery at police headquarters. Along the way to catching the thief, you will learn to use algorithmic tools, like iterative deepening, parallelizing, strings, arrays, stacks, and queues to solve the case. If all these terms sound foreign to you, don’t worry they are explained in the book. Mr. Runtime is also joined by a know-it-all rookie cop, Officer Notation, and his sidekick, Socks and together they unravel a deep conspiracy within the walls of the police headquarters.

This is a great book to help introduce and learn about computer science. Within our homeschool we have only dabbled in it a little bit but I hope to spark an interest for my 10th grader before she enters the class. This book helps you to know when to use the most efficient algorithms in any given situation while applying common sense too. Priced at $17.95 for a printed copy or $14.95 for eBook edition it is both educational and entertaining.

I love being able to wrap learning into this story and that it doesn’t seem like learning at all. This book is perfect for computer science students or amateur sleuths who enjoy a good mystery. I know my daughter will enjoy it as much as I did! This is the perfect book to give as a gift.

-Product review by Jacquelin Caffey, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, January, 2017