An aspiring ghost hunter who uses a motorized wheelchair becomes a sleuth when a robber strikes her Kentucky hometown.
Twelve-year-old Scooter, a self-described “sensitive,” is fascinated by ghosts; she and her best friend, Harlan, chronicle their ghost-hunting vigils on their YouTube channel, “Spirits Among Us.” But the spirit she really longs to meet is her Momma, who died in the car accident that injured Scooter’s spinal cord a year ago. When Scooter attempts to record the ghost of her great-great-great-grandfather, a repentant former slave owner, she captures something else: a clue to the robberies plaguing her family’s holler, Chamber’s Corner. Can she and Harlan—and her trusty Labrador, Max—identify the culprit before her family’s paintball business is hit? Heavy foreshadowing weakens the mystery, but Scooter’s conversational narration and a dash of suspense keep the pages turning. A tender exploration of family and loss forms the story’s heart. Scooter’s close-knit extended family is warmly supportive despite her Marine dad’s stern exterior, and the ending is sweet if somewhat pat. Howard—who relearned how to walk as a child—portrays Scooter’s disability realistically, including her hopes of recovery and insecurity about the appearance of her legs. Most characters default to White, though a description of Harlan’s tightly curled black hair may lead readers to imagine him as Black.
A cozy, mildly suspenseful read.(Mystery. 8-12)