I had always imagined that I grew up in the suburbs. Several years ago my cousin Robert said the same thing but that he'd since realized our neighborhood - which was only a couple of miles from downtown Salt Lake City - was really a city neighborhood (and now that I live in the suburbs of Los Angeles I have a very different perspective on what "suburbs" are). But it certainly didn't feel like the "city" back then - I related more to the Brady Bunch kids than I did with Bill Cosby's Fat Albert and his gang. So, for a kid like me who grew up in the wide open kid-friendly neighborhoods of a small western city, big cities like New York always seemed like strange and almost exotic places to live. Instead of having a backyard to play in, kids had vacant lots. Instead of living in houses, they lived in apartments which they sometimes called "flats." Instead of riding bikes everywhere for miles, they rode buses. And I imagine riding bikes or even buses to the "edge" or "outskirts" of town (like we did) wasn't much of an option.
I thought the darkly-tinged urban setting with a background of late-70s TV game shows and Madeline L'Engle's A Wrinkle In Time was very clever, and the characters are engaging if not always entirely likeable. It's the kind of mystery story that kids and their parents will enjoy, although parents may want to know that there are a few mild profanities scattered throughout. I listened to the audio book read by Cynthia Holloway, who does a very good job, but I enjoyed it so much I bought it for my kids (Kate's already read it, which didn't take long). It'll probably appeal most to kids 4th grade thru 8th.