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Month in review

Reviews
The American Highway by William Kaszynski
Blizzard by John Rocco
The Bones of Paris by Laurie R. King
Displacement: A Travelogue by Lucy Knisley
Don Eddy: The Art of Paradox by Donald B. Kuspit
The Farmer and the Clown by Marla Frazee
Finding Someplace by Denise Lewis Patrick
Fish In A Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
Flora and the Flamingo by Molly Idle
The Flying Squad by Edgar Wallace
George by Alex Gino
Ghoul Interrupted by Victoria Laurie
Hip Hop Family Tree, Vol. 1: 1970s-1981 by Ed Piskor
In the Driver's Seat by Cynthia Golomb Dettelbach
Last Message by Shane Peacock
The Lincoln Highway by Michael Wallis
Magic Thinks Big by Elisha Cooper
A Murderous Yarn by Monica Ferris
My Name Is Maria Isabel by Alma Flor Ada
Return to Augie Hobble by Lane Smith
Sophie Scott Goes South by Alison Lester
The Spider by Elise Gravel
A Spirited Gift by Joyce Lavene
A Stitch in Time by Monica Ferris
Tommy Can't Stop! by Tim Federle
Unraveled Sleeve by Monica Ferris
Up, Tall and High by Ethan Long
The Vacation by Polly Horvath
When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
Woundabout by Lev A.C. Rosen

Previous month

Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

My Kind of Mystery Reading Challenge 2017 February - January 2017-8



Last Message: 11/18/15

Last Message by Shane PeacockLast 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.

Two stars

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