What They’re Saying about Upton Charles

‘Disappearing Diamonds is an enjoyable experience for young readers.’ The West Roxbury Transcript

‘The beginning, middle and ending flow well together to make this a good story with educational and entertaining elements. It’s perfect for school- aged kids.’ KIDS FIRST!

‘Move over McGruff the Crime Dog, Upton Charles is here to sniff for clues and solve your mysteries.’ Cantabrigia

‘One of its appealing aspects is that it is a mystery, the other is that the main character is a dog detective who thinks out loud as the narrator of the story. Note, he is not a talking dog, just a dog whose thoughts we can hear.’ KIDS FIRST

 ‘This dog takes a bite out of crime.’ Cambridge Chronicle

‘Perfect for the read-to-me or the I-can-read-it myself age group.’ Boston Globe

‘D. G. Stern’s delightful series of adventures starring Upton Charles.’

Upton Charles will make a believer out of every reader.’ Midwest Book Review

‘To solve the paw-fect crime, call Upton!’ The Harvard Coop

‘Told from the viewpoint of a very special dog, “Winter Wonderland” promises to be a great mystery reading experience for kids ages 8-11. “Winter Wonderland” also can be read aloud by an adult as an exciting chapter book for a younger audience.’ Midwest Book Review

 ‘This story is entertaining and educational with historical facts and valuable social lesson to be learned. The message inherent in the story is that things do not always have to be worth a lot of money to be valuable.’ KIDS FIRST!

 ‘The action-packed mysteries are intended to be “read with me” books so that parents and teachers can be involved with reading at an earlier age. Older readers can also read through and enjoy them on their own.’ NewportPatch

‘Logical deductive thinking, teamwork, paying attention to random clues to put the jigsaw puzzle together, who would think these skills could be helped and taught by a dog, even a very smart dog?’

 ‘As a teacher of constructive logical, deductive thought, Upton rules.’ Midwest Book Review

‘Upton Charles is a positive character, the family members are appealing and the story is engaging. The illustrations are quite simple and the story’s historical facts give it extra depth.’ KIDS FIRST!

 ‘The adorable, astute Upton is full of energy and humorous “remarks” as he tries to communicate with humans. This is sure to be a favorite with most all children!’ Rockin’ Book Reviews

 ‘The author brilliantly infuses historically significant facts into the narration in a painless and entertaining manner’ KIDS FIRST!

‘Another wonderfully entertaining adventure in author D. G. Stern’s outstanding ‘Upton Charles: Dog Detective’ series, “Tip Top” is especially and highly recommended for young readers ages 7 to 11 and will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to both school and community library fiction collections for young readers.’ Midwest Book Review

'Upton Charles and his family is back for yet another mystery! This one is entertaining and has an educational twist to it, as well. It flows well from beginning to ending and children will want to know how the mystery is solved.' KIDS FIRST!

'I loved the humor and wit in the story, and I think it would make a great holiday book to read by the beach. It is entertaining and teaches children the importance of teamwork, deductive reasoning and logic.'

'Not only is the action of the mystery, adventure and idea of teamwork wonderful for younger children, the underlying message of questioning and being curious is also another great additive of this book. It shows children that it is beneficial to be creative and use their imagination while learning.' KIDS FIRST!

 "Missing Map: Upton Charles Dog Detective" by author D. G. Stern is a unique and very highly recommended for family, elementary school, middle school, and community library collections, young readers will fully enjoy applying their own deductive skills to solve the mystery of the pilfered pirate guide to treasure in Missing Map! Midwest Book Review

"I give Missing Map (Upton Charles-Dog Detective Series 4.5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18. It is available online (and) wherever books are sold" KIDS FIRST!.

"Super Scary from the Upton Charles-Dog Detective series is a quick and charming story. The perspective of the dog makes one re-imagine the way our pets might think and communicate. I love the mixture of sass and charm that Upton brings to his narration. My favorite parts of the book are when he outsmarts the many human friends in his life."  KIDS FIRST!.




Each book in the series has a downloadable book study 
(click here)

All books in the series are available on Kindle

What they are saying about the Thomas Ballard mysteries.


Stabbing Along the Straightaway


"D.G. captured every bit of the vintage world of racing world.  It's a vivid picture with believable personalities and great cars, and one "who dun it" that will keep you guessing to the very end."  Jeanette Veitenheimer Lime Rock Park Historic Festival Executive Administrator 

"You have a great understanding of the characters that have passion for the sport and the cars that they race. I enjoyed the book immensely. Great story." Stephen Page Founder, Chairman and CEO Vintage Racing League

"Stern's sense of dialog and breezy style as well as his occasional spot on observations of the vintage racing scene make for a tough book to put down," Vintage Sports Car


Chaos at the Concours

"Well-conceived and written. The Bentley Gang were in fine form. Many, many thanks for sharing your passion for all that is “collector cars” with me." Stephen J. L. Page,

Founder & CEO, Racing and Cars


"D. G. Stern masterfully shares with the reader the complicated inner workings of Ballard's thinking, revealing how he determined the motives for the murders and the evidence that led to a conclusion of what happened. It is obvious that Stern is a lover of vintage vehicles; he even has Ballard often residing in a vintage 1955 Airstream Flying Cloud travel trailer. Chaos at the Concours is fast-paced, exciting, and full of D. G. Stern’s red herrings.  If you like murder mysteries, you will appreciate Stern’s work."

"Stern's breezy and almost (but not quite) glib style is simply great fun and we recommend this one to any and all looking for a light novel with a motoring background to the story. It is assuredly a keeper." Vintage Sports Car


2018 First Place Books, Fiction

America Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association, Inc.


Panic in the Pits

"Let's cut right to the chase, Stern's third Thomas Ballard novel, Panic in the Pits, is even better than his first two-and we loved the first two." Victory Lane

2019 Second Place Books

America Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association, Inc.

 Critical Corner

"We expect to be reading Thomas Ballard's adventures for a very long time."   
Vintage Sports Car

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