David Patneaude incorporates facts about an actual meteorite landing as he tells the story of fourteen year old Russell and his determination to understand his ailing grandfather. Russell and his mother decide to spend the summer in the Oregon Mountains, in order to better care for his grandfather who is suffering from alzheimer’s. Russell anticipates a couple of lonely months, isolated from his schoolmates, but soon meets Pheobe and her veteran brother Isaac. His boredom turns to adventure when these three young people discover a mystery that involves a hidden meteorite, a murder and the forgotten past of Russell’s grandfather.
Russell, Phoebe and Isaac each demonstrate physical and moral courage as well as great resourcefulness as they face the danger ahead of them. Their resolve to find the truth behind this crime, committed years ago, leads them to exonerate an unjustly convicted neighbor. Concise, suspenseful chapters should hold the interest of reluctant readers as they witness Russell’s loyalty to his family.
Jennifer Minicus is a former teacher, currently living in Ridgewood, NJ.