Saturday, March 3, 2012

Theodore Boone, The Abduction by John Grisham

In this second book in the Theodore Boone series, Theo's best friend, April, has disappeared in the middle of the night. It turns out that Theo was the last person to speak to her, at 9:30 on the night of her disappearance, and the police wish to speak to him the next morning.

Theo, the only child of two lawyers, is very familiar with the law profession and spends a great deal of time at his parents' office, in their law library. He also spends a lot of time at the local courthouse, where he observes as many trials as he can.

April's disappearance, naturally, throws their small town of Strattenburg into a panic, as everyone hopes for April's safe return and worries that the other children in town may be in danger. April's family situation, of which Theo was aware but sworn to secrecy, comes to light. Her father, an aging and not very successful rocker, is on the road with his band. Her mother, who raises goats and peddles cheese from a old hearse that is painted yellow, stays out until all hours of the morning, partying. That is why she doesn't discover that April is missing until 3:30 AM. When both parents are home, they fight constantly and pay little attention to April.

The police discover correspondence between April and a convict, who has recently escaped, named Jack Leeper. Sightings of him in the area, prior to April's disappearance, are reported and the police pursue the lead, finally picking Leeper up. He proves to be quite a slippery character. Next, a body is recovered from the river, lending more suspense to the tale.

Theo and his friend, Chase, pursue leads on their own, when they think the police are going in the wrong direction. They turn to Theo's uncle, Ike, when they need adult help to finish the case.

The first book in this series and this one was got mixed reviews, but this is a good mystery. It is a page turner, but without the gruesome violence that some mysteries have. Unlike some of the snarky protagonists that populate many of the books for this age group, Theo has a healthy respect for adults and turns to them for help when he needs it. 2011

R. Rauch

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