Seventeen-year-old Jim Webb must travel the Canol Trail in Canada’s Northwest Territories to fulfill a specific request made in the unusual will of David McLean, his beloved grandfather.
Webb may be the only hiker ever to travel Canada’s Far North with a Gibson J-45 acoustic guitar strapped across his back, but it means the world to him, his father’s last gift to him before dying of cancer. Webb’s stepfather has tormented him and made life at home untenable, but evil is also afoot in Yellowknife in the form of psychopathic Brent Melrose. After facing Brent, walking 110 kilometers through a “bear-filled, wolf-infested, roadless wilderness” won’t seem so bad. But it is bad, and Webb begins to see the wisdom in his grandfather’s favorite Nietzsche quotation: “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” Brouwer weaves twin narratives to good effect, a present-tense story of Webb’s attempt to solve his grandfather’s mystery at Mile 112, and flashbacks that inform readers as to why Webb is on the journey in the first place. Part of a seven-novel series with simultaneous release dates, this volume is especially targeted at boys looking for action and suspense. A likable guitar-playing protagonist is a bonus.
Unlike Webb, readers can face grizzly bears, wolves and psychopaths in the cozy confines of a good book. (Adventure. 10-14)