Nick Caden and his family travel to Montana for a family vacation at Deadwood Canyon Ghost Town, where they’re entertained by such characters as Billy the Kid, Jesse James, and Annie Oakley. Nick would rather be in Las Vegas for a video game convention. But then Nick stumbles onto a dead body, and once he brings the sheriff back to the scene of the crime, the body is gone. Now no one will believe him. So it’s up to Nick to solve the crime himself—which is a hobby of his anyway. His parents want him to stay out of trouble, but Nick won’t stop until he solves the murder.
I don’t think there are enough mystery books or boy books for young readers that are written from a Christian worldview, so I’m excited about this book. And it reminded me of the Hardy Boy books I read as a kid. Nick and his family are not Christians, though, and there is a point where he asks his mom about the Bible and she makes it clear that she doesn’t believe the book is true. But Nick finds a Bible with highlighted passages that make him curious.
Nick was determined to solve the case. At first I was a little confused. I couldn’t tell if there really had been a dead body or if it was part of the Ghost Town’s act. And I wasn’t certain until the very end, which was kind of fun, to be kept guessing. Everyone is a suspect in Nick’s eyes, including his new friend Annie. He gathers his clues and processes them based on his “training” as a Cyber Sleuth, something he and his friends do in their spare time to solve cold cases. I’m still not sure how the highlighted Bible fit in to the mystery, but Nick figures it out and saves the day. This is a clean and fun story. Check it out.
Rated PG: This book is clean. Nick disobeys his parents. There are two dead bodies in the book. A girl kisses Nick briefly on the lips.
Review copy provided by the publisher. Thank you!
Jill is a novelist, dreamer, book reviewer, and believer. Growing up in Alaska led to a love of books, and in 2010 her first novel, By Darkness Hid, won the Christy Award. Her latest book, Replication, is a young adult science fiction story from Zondervan. She loves working with teenagers and gives writing workshops at libraries, schools, camps, and churches. Jill lives in Oregon with her husband and two children. Visit Jill online at www.jillwilliamson.com, where adventure comes to life.