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Last Message: 11/18/15
Last Message by Shane Peacock is the last book in a collection of related books, kind of like The 39 Clues series but without the marketing arm of Scholastic. Both series start the same: a wealthy relative dies and the resulting will provides instructions for a treasure hunt.
In the case of The 39 Clues series, all the relatives are given the same set of clues. Starting with The Maze of Bones by Rick Riordan, the series follows Amy and Dan, the youngest and least experienced of the teams. Here, though, each book focuses on a different grandchild and a different set of clues. Thus it's not important to read the entire set nor is it important to read them in any particular order.
Adam, the youngest grandson, is a Canadian living in Buffalo, New York. His note tells him to go to a small village near Marseilles, France. His journey will lead him to learn about Vincent Van Gough, the cave paintings of Lascaux, Antoine de Saint-Exupery, and the Nazi occupation of France during WWII. The history lessons here are done with such earnestness that they're not as fun as the best of the 39 Clues. They read more like heavy handed after school specials.
The one saving grace of Last Message is Adam's perpetual frustration at being confused by everyone for being an American. No matter the situation he's constantly assumed to be American. Perhaps, it's his own bad behavior that contributes to the confusion. He steals, he breaks into places, he tries bribery. Though, in the end, someone tosses a brick of common sense at his head and he finally realizes what an ass he's been.