Young and young-at-heart lovers of mystery may be happy to learn of the release of the first book in the Vicki Silver Mystery series, “The Stolen Gem,” available for purchase at Hastings Entertainment in Waxahachie.

Written by Southwestern Assemblies of God University English major Alissa Wood, 20, the author likens the stories to what she describes as the “early hardback” Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys tales.

A member of the Christian Writers Fellowship at SAGU, Wood said, “I have loved writing all my life.”

“The Stolen Gem” is the first in a series of mysteries Wood wrote while she was a junior high and high school student in Saginaw, Texas.

“I’d written six or seven (in the series) by high school graduation,” said Wood, a 2005 graduate of Boswell High School.

The main character in the series, which is recommended for ages 12 and older, is Vicki Silver, a 17-year-old with a passion for solving mysteries. Wood said the book might be suitable for children as young as 9 at the discretion of their parents.

“Vicki solves the mysteries with the help of her friends,” said Wood, describing Vicki and her friends as “amateurs” in the business of mystery solving and solve their first mystery in “The Stolen Gem.”

The plot for “The Stolen Gem” is built around a jewel robbery from the local museum and the story is set in Maine at the start of Vicki’s summer vacation.

“There’s a lot of action, including a car chase that is pretty exciting,” Wood said.

“There is violence, but there’s no gore,” said Wood, saying the mystery series is “family friendly” and “There are some Christian aspects. They’re subtle,” said Wood of the story, saying that “helps out with the plot.”

For example, the story’s characters attend a church service and Wood weaves the sermon message into the story.

“I use how (the story characters) took it to heart, based on their circumstances at that moment,” Wood said.

“Each of the characters are loosely based on my friends and family, but all characters and events are works of fiction,” said Wood, who sees her style as mostly “plot driven.”

“However,” Wood said, “I want readers to get to know the characters. I want people to see them grow throughout the series.”

Wood said she got the idea of writing a mystery series at about age 13.

“As of now, mystery novels was the only thing I saw as a series, but I do have other projects in the works,” Wood said, saying she is compiling a non-fiction guide for college students. It’s called ‘Fire Drills’ because my dorm has lots of fire drills,” said Wood, describing the book as an “informational, helpful guide that is sprinkled with humorous anecdotes.”

“I’m going to keep writing as much as I can,” said Wood of her plans after college, noting she’ll probably stay in Texas.

“The Stolen Gem” is available at Hastings Entertainment in Waxahachie and also on Amazon.com.