THE PIKE RIVER PHANTOM by Betty Ren Wright

THE PIKE RIVER PHANTOM

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KIRKUS REVIEW

When 12-year-old Charlie's father gets out of jail (he held up a 7-Eleven to feed his hungry family), they go to live with his grandparents in peaceful Pike River, where cousin Rachel is also staying because her parents are missionaries in Africa. While Rachel prepares to enter the Sunbonnet Queen contest, Charlie meets a strange old lady who calls herself the real sunbonnet queen. Actually, she is a vengeful ghost involved in a secret from Grandma's past. Most of the TV-like action here is clichÉd and predictable--with little thrill in the scene depicted on the jacket (a screaming ghost chasing kids from her house) or in the fire that allows Charlie's father to end the book as a hero. Although Charlie learns (on the last page) to appreciate his father's special, childlike world-view, he never apologizes for his previous cold, rode behavior or gives his father even a clue that his feelings have changed. Except for an incident when an old lady comically mistakes Charlie for a thief and locks him in her closet, there are few original moments here.

Pub Date: Oct. 15th, 1988
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: Holiday House