The Treasure of Mad Jack Halloran by Malcolm Mair

The Treasure of Mad Jack Halloran

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A ghost story for middle-grade readers about a young girl and an unlikely crew hunting for a centuries-old pirate’s treasure.

Retired teacher Mair (The Ghost of Mad Jack Halloran, 2013, etc.) delivers the final part of a trilogy chronicling the ghost pirate’s haunting of 14-year-old English girl Lucy Roberts. Mad Jack Halloran and his wife, Sarah, are stuck in limbo as ghosts because Jack’s vast fortune, left in Singapore a century ago, still needs to be returned to its owner. Jack trails his host, Lucy, to school, and soon she has to cover up for the blunders of a ghost who’s more dopey than dastardly. She enlists her uncle Harry, an inspector who previously conjured Jack’s ghost with an incantation, to help find Jack’s treasure. But Mair quickly complicates matters: Before, Jack only bothered Lucy and her family, but now everyday people can sometimes see and hear him. When Uncle Harry, Lucy and her snarky best friend, Alison, board a flight to Singapore, Jack is terrified: “One look out of the window and Jack went deathly pale (which is quite an achievement for a ghost).” Panic ensues, and Harry, Lucy and Alison get deported as soon as they land. Back in England, a coincidence leads the gang to Master Chang, overseer of Jack’s fortune in Singapore, who can settle their debts and finally release the ghost couple from their curse. At its best, this is a spirited tale that delights in the absurd. However, there are some inconsistencies in the story’s supernatural setup, especially regarding Jack and Sarah’s seemingly arbitrary visibility. The book’s target audience of tweens likely won’t mind some of the story’s obvious plot twists and heavy-handed foreshadowing, but its eye-rolling jokes and overemphasized angst sometimes slow the story down.

An often lively romp that concludes the adventures of Lucy and her ever-present phantom friend.

Pub Date: Feb. 10th, 2014
ISBN: 978-1492977223
Page count: 226pp
Publisher: CreateSpace
Program: Kirkus Indie
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