Sunday, May 26, 2013

Dead Man's Hand - Eddie Jones

Publisher:  Zondervan
Pages:  224
Genre:  Middle Grade/Young Adult Mystery
Source:  Review copy received in exchange for my honest review

If you are looking for a great mystery for your tween/teen to read this summer then this book is the one for you.  This is a book that both boys and girls will enjoy.  Nick Caden is doomed to spend his summer vacation with his parents and his young sister Wendy at the Deadwood Canyon Ghost Town in Montana.

He can think of nothing more boring.  It is supposed to be an old time western ghost town complete with cowboys, re-enactments and history lessons. To me this sounded wonderful.  I live in Florida and when I was in my teens we had an old western town in Ocala, Florida called Six Gun Territory.  This story immediately took me back to that time and place.  I had great memories there.   I assumed that since I loved something like that, then maybe a teen would as well. 

Nick stumbles upon the dead body of Billy the Kid.  When he gets the sheriff and they return to the spot, there is no body.  He is told that it was probably all a part of the act.  Nick doesn’t buy it.  In his free time back home he and his friends participate in a Cyber-Super Sleuth club.  Solving mysteries is what he does and he is determined to solve this one.  He is helped in this adventure by Annabel, also known as Annie Oakley.  Her uncle, Marshal Buckleberry deputizes him and allows him to question the tourists as long as he doesn’t mention the dead body.    You know that at some point he is going to question the wrong person and that can and will lead to trouble. 

This is the first book in the  Caden Chronicles and not the last one I will read.  This is a book I know several of my students will enjoy.  From the book we learn that Nick’s family are not Christians.  Nick finds a Bible with highlighted passages and begins to question things.  This is very light on the Christian end of things. I do hope there is more along that line in the second book.  I know as an author myself that balancing on  that fine line is very difficult.  I do believe that Eddie Jones is up to the challenge.  I recommend that tweens, teens and adults read this book.  It would definitely make a great summer read.

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