A tale bursting with intrigue and adventure finds its setting deep in the South Carolina Lowcountry.
Twelve-year-old Abbey Force has had a rough time of things lately. Her beloved father has suffered an accident and now lies in the hospital in a coma. Meanwhile, he has been accused of stealing from a client named Miss Lydia Jenkins, and his law firm, in an attempt to salvage its reputation, has sold the Force family home, Reward Plantation, in order to repay her. Abbey is forced to go and live with her good-for-nothing Uncle Charlie and his wife, Ruth. Her luck begins to change when the new owners, also named Force, well-to-do descendants of the slaves who once lived at Reward, take up residence at the plantation. She and new best friend and neighbor Bee Force stumble upon a mystery—someone is digging holes at Felony Bay, perhaps in search of buried treasure. Soon, they are neck deep in a dangerous mess involving Abbey’s father’s so-called crime, her Uncle Charlie, Miss Jenkins’ riches and possibly the town sheriff. A predictable outcome, lengthy final explanations seeking to tie up loose ends and one too many subplots weigh this one down. Bee and Abbey are amiable protagonists, though, and their spunk and perseverance, combined with the realistic and richly developed setting, deliver considerable appeal.
A successful turn by a promising new author. (Mystery. 9-12)