Books by David Patneaude

EPITAPH ROAD by David Patneaude
Released: March 23, 2010

Fourteen-year-old Kellen Dent is one of the few males left on Earth after a plague in 2067 killed 97 percent of the males and left women in charge of the world. By 2097, wars have ceased, crime rates have dropped, prisons have emptied and the number of males is strictly controlled. More money now goes to health care, medical research, education and environmental concerns. However, Kellen and his friend Tia discover that the plague that killed billions of people was no natural disaster but was created on purpose, and Kellen's long-missing father is part of a movement to oppose those in power. The opening chapter describes the plague, and each chapter that follows opens with an epitaph for someone killed, effectively linking the plague year with Kellen's life 30 years later. The first-person point of view and the page-turning plot of this post-apocalyptic thriller will hook readers awaiting the final installment of the Hunger Games trilogy and provoke more than a few thoughts as well. (Science fiction. 10 & up)Read full book review >
A PIECE OF THE SKY by David Patneaude
Released: April 1, 2007

Following the discovery by Dr. John Evans of a valuable ten-ton meteorite in a remote area of mountainous Port Orford, Ore., in 1856, the modern consequences swing from attempted murder motivated by greed to natural wonder born by scientific curiosity. Fourteen-year-old Russell is interested in the meteorite because his great grandfather was with the team who originally found it. He has developed a love for geology, and he's in town to help close up his sick grandfather's home. No one knows where the meteorite is except Legs, a harmless blind man, whose research in better days and foolish tenacity has kept his map secret for seven years. There is high melodramatic tension because a dangerous man is stalking Legs and his friends. This exciting treasure hunt has all the elements of a thriller, and the gun-wielding bad guy on the trail of the friends rocks the plot into hyper-mode. An entertaining light summer read. (Fiction. 11-14)Read full book review >
THIN WOOD WALLS by David Patneaude
Released: Sept. 27, 2004

On the brink of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, Joe Hanada and his family search for the perfect Christmas tree, invited to do so by a good neighbor. Joe and his family are Americans of Japanese origin, as are many in the farming community near Seattle, Washington. Soon, too soon, the friendly atmosphere of the place turns to active hatred by some. On December 7th, the FBI takes Joe's father away in his pajamas and the family begins to struggle to carry on. And then it's their turn. The walls of the title tell much about the harsh conditions in the guarded and fenced facilities where the "detainees" must live—each family in a single room. Some of the non-Japanese are good people, some hateful, and Joe's descriptions of them are powerful. Eventually, his father is returned to the family and his older brother joins the American army and is shipped into combat. Joe's first-person narrative is moving and clear in its depiction of this life, so cruel and unfair, though Joe's voice sometimes seems more mature than an 11-year-old. An important and forceful a contribution to the field. (Historical fiction. 6-9)Read full book review >
FRAMED IN FIRE by David Patneaude
Released: April 1, 1999

Patneaude (The Last Man's Reward, 1996, etc.) hatches a silly plot and one-dimensional characters, but preteens might enjoy this piece of escapist entertainment about a boy wrongly committed to a mental asylum. Peter's weak-willed mother has lied to him all his life about his real father, allegedly dead. Peter doesn't get along with his stepfather, a car salesman, who schemes to have him committed by a corrupt psychiatrist. In the asylum, Peter befriends two disturbed inmates and a health technician who help him escape. Among the absurd plot concoctions: Peter's five-year-old half-brother, Lincoln, is psychic, allowing Peter extraordinary access to clues he needs to find his real father; and that his father has been searching for Peter all along. Patneaude resurrects elements from his first novel, Someone Was Watching (1993), in which a supposedly drowned sister has really been kidnapped, and in which a cross-country trip unfolds without much mishap. His writing style, however, is so robust that even if readers find little remotely connected to reality in these pages, there's more than enough suspense in the fast-paced narrative to keep them entertained. (Fiction. 8-13) Read full book review >
THE LAST MAN'S REWARD by David Patneaude
Released: April 1, 1996

Albert and his four friends are living in company-owned apartments just until their parents find houses. When the boys acquire a rare and valuable baseball card, they decide to hide it in an abandoned mine; the ``last man'' in the apartment complex gets to keep it and sell it, if he chooses. Albert has a use for the money the card will bring: His coach, Mr. Rockwood, is facing mounting medical bills for the care of his desperately ill wife. There's nothing really new about the storyline, but Patneaude's talent, in Dark Starry Morning (1995) and here, is in taking familiar plots and rendering them without any unrealistic vilifying of the characters to maintain excitement. He shows that suspense is possible without such outright villainy, and that reading about good people who do right is just as satisfying as reading about bad people getting their just deserts. (Fiction. 9-12) Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 1995

A collection of stories, five of which deal with intrusions of the supernatural into everyday life: A freshman track star is helped by a ghostly trainer, a boy learns to fight off night monsters with the help of a mysterious clown, a girl locates the ghost of Jimi Hendrix for her terminally ill aunt, a man who was supposedly murdered visits his old neighborhood, and two children are given a chance at immortality by aliens. The sixth is set in the near future, where the last of the whales has just been captured. Oddly enough, these tales aren't scary at all, but rather sweet and occasionally moving. Ghostly isn't equated with evil, and the characters accept the unearthly into their lives with gentle ease. If there is life after death, or aliens, or strange powers, this is their ideal form: a comfort and blessing to the living. Charming stories, these have the spooky premises to grab horror fans, and will hold them with the promise of something better than blood and gore. (Short stories. 11-14) Read full book review >
Released: July 1, 1993

The sadness pervading the first few pages of this decently written first novel is almost overwhelming: Chris and his parents return to the summer home where his toddler sister Molly apparently drowned three months earlier; the family is just beginning to come to grips with their loss. Viewing a videotape made that terrible day, Chris interprets it with poignant optimism—maybe Molly was kidnapped, maybe she's alive, maybe he can find her. With longtime best friend Pat (and without the knowledge of his parents, who are suitably skeptical about the scenario he envisions), Chris travels to Florida and locates the elderly couple who have convinced Molly that she belongs to them. So much of this mild adventure works that it seems almost curmudgeonly to point out its faults: the boyish eighth graders encounter no real difficulties in their journey; the kidnappers' motives, arrest, and punishment are barely hinted at; there's an unsettling shift to Molly's point of view that all but confirms the outcome, diffusing any lingering suspense. But holding everything together are the characters' feelings; their grief and reactions to various dilemmas are so pure and credible that readers will willingly put doubts aside to join in the search. (Fiction. 11-13) Read full book review >