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Monday, January 9, 2012

The Dead Man in Indian Creek


The Dead Man in Indian Creek
by Mary Downing Hahn


~ Reading Level: 6.1 ~ Genre: Mystery/Suspense ~
~ Chapters: 17 ~ Pages: 130 ~


*SPOILER ALERT!*
Matt Armentrout and Peter Pettengill have been best friends since Kindergarten, now they are 13 and in junior high. They are always together riding their bikes around the small town of Woodcroft and the surrounding areas. They decide to go on one last camping trip before winter and to hunt for the elusive heron that is sometimes seen lurking around Indian Creek.

While out searching for the bird, they stumble across a dead body in the creek. Just moments before George Evans (Pam's boyfriend & employer) was standing on the bridge. The boys wonder why he would be out so early in the morning. They run to the police for help. The police doubt that Evans has anything to do with it as he is pillar of the community. The boys decide to investigate themselves. The investigation leads them to a drug ring being run out of the Olde Mill Antique shop. Both Peter's mom, Pam, and Evans are involved.

The boys set out to prove that Evans is guilty. They get caught by Evans and his partner, Flynn. Evans tries to save Pam but leaves the boys for dead. Otis (Peter's dog) saves the day, the boys solve the crime. Peter goes to stay at Matt's house as Pam is facing jail time. The end.



My Opinion
When searching the internet for grade level recommendations for this book I found anything from grade 3-9. It is a simple book to read (my third grader can manage it) but it has mature topics. The book is extremely predictable.... the boyfriend is a creep, he was on the bridge at an unusual time, and there just happens to be a dead body below him that the boys find. Hidden within the pages is a message of friendship and family togetherness; of good triumphing over evil but I am not sure it is enough to satisfy me to recommend this book to others. I would probably give it 3 stars.... I am feeling generous today. This is not a book I would include in my class or home library.

That said, many people disagree with me. This book has won several awards: Indiana Young Hoosier Book Award, ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Readers, Utah Beehive Awards, IRA/CBC Children's Choice, Virginia Readers Choice, South Carolina Children's Book Award, and Minnesota Maud Hart Lovelace Book Award.

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