(Caden Chronicles #2)
by Eddie Jones
by Eddie Jones
Genre: MG Mystery
Paperback: 192 Pages
Publication: August 6, 2013 by Zonderkidz
The good news is...vampires aren't real. The bad news is...you can't believe the news. After solving the Deadwood ghost story, Nick lands a job as a roving reporter for The Cool Ghoul Gazette, a website on paranormal disturbances. When the editor sends Nick to investigate a murder, Nick finds a corpse sporting fangs, bite marks and a gaping hole in its chest, courtesy of a wooden stake. Will Nick unravel the truth behind the 'blood covenant, ' or will his new job suck the life out of him? Nick Caden has a 'supernatural' knack for finding trouble. He's a normal fourteen-year-old who attracts ghosts, vampires, and the undead---or so it seems. But Nick's relentless search for truth leads him into worlds of darkness with grave consequences, where the dead, dying and deranged walk... on really hot coals.
◆ A copy was provided by DJC Communications for review ◆
Caden flies to Transylvania, North Carolina to investigate the mystery of Barnabas Forester's death, one that seems to suggest that vampires are real. Forester was a wealthy recluse, and there are many who stood to gain with his death. To solve the case, Caden prepares to cross reference countless television shows in the hopes of solving the case before the police can. The closer he gets to the murderer, however, the greater the danger to himself and those around him.
Caden is a great character with a strong voice. He knows what he wants, and he isn't afraid to confront whoever it takes to pursue a lead. In fact, he can come off as interrogative when he's questioning people, but not so much that it alienated me. After all, Caden is a reporter, and I enjoyed seeing him 'banter' with people. The entertaining dialogue is one of the strong points of the novel. Some of the best exchanges of words are between Caden and Meg, the coroner's assistant who ends up helping with with the case. I also love Caden's Aunt Vivian, who is really is great aunt but hates to be called that because it makes her feel old. She's so filled with love and fun.
There is some romance in that Caden seems to find Meg attractive, and Aunt Vivian keeps calling them out for bickering like a married couple. However, there are only glimpses of it, for which I'm glad. A mystery novel should focus on the case at hand. The faux paranormal element of the vampire adds to the creepy factor. I also like the introduction of a mystery figure whose identity is never uncovered and who seems to be set to appear in future installments of the series.
I do wish that the story gave us a better idea of how old Meg is; it was disconcerting because I couldn't get a clear image of her in my mind. I only knew that she was padding her resume for med school and didn't have her driver's license, which makes her anywhere in the high school to college years. I wouldn't have minded so much if she only made a small appearance, but she's a constant presence in the story.
This is actually the first Caden book that I've read. For those who haven't read book one, like me, there was enough backstory provided that I didn't feel out of the loop. From other reviews I've seen, it looks like Caden has grown a lot from book one though, so reading book one should help give more insight into Caden's character. Nevertheless, I do appreciate how I didn't feel like I had to read book one to connect with the characters and the story.
Skull Creek Stakeout has made me a fan of the Caden Chronicles. I'll be following the series from here on out!
Note: There are Biblical references in the story, as well as talk of Christianity. Still, it isn't so much that it overtakes the plot to become the focus of the story, nor does it seem to preach to readers, though the Discussion Questions at the back of the book are focused on Christian values imparted in the story.