Friday, July 28, 2023

Today's read... Devin Drake and the Family Secret by R.M. Clark

by R.M. Clark
Middle Grade Paranormal
172 pages
ages 8 to 12

Another day, another birthday, right? Not quite for Devin Drake. A few days after his twelfth birthday, he loses his new drone in the creepiest place on earth, a cemetery. While retrieving it, he realizes he cannot only hear, but see ghosts. Devin soon finds out that necromancy runs in the Drake family. However, before he can learn everything about his new-found power, a classmate begs him to find out why her deceased grandfather keeps contacting her through cryptic texts, random pennies, and birds of all things. Thinking it’ll be a quick case; Devin agrees to help her. However, he soon learns that spirits don’t always make things easy and just when he thinks he’s solved one clue, another one pops up creating at least ten more questions than the last. Will Devin get the hang of his new-found gift before time runs out? Or will Eva’s grandfather continue to lead Devin on what could be considered a wild goose chase?

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Drones, magic and ghosts launch this book into a very exciting adventure.

Devin doesn't consider himself  normal, but he has no clue how right he really is. When the drone he received for his birthday crash lands in a cemetery, he swallows his fear to get it...until he hears and sees ghosts talking nearby. It doesn't take long for him to figure out that it's part of a talent, handed down for generations thanks to the necromancers in his ancestery. Going with the flow, he does his best to cope with this new reality. When a classmate discovers what he can do, she begs him to help her. She's convinced her dead grandfather is trying to tell her something. But it's not as simple as it seems, and Devin soon finds himself in over his head in all the wrong ways. 

Devin is a character packed with personality. His fears (and he has several of them) mixed with a little awkwardness make him easy to sympathize with as he does his best to steer through every problem thrown at him. And he has a lot to deal with. This is a shorter read but it packs quite the adventure. The author has made sure to use every moment to move the secrets along and let the tension build. There were a few times, which jumped a bit too fast, but with so much happening, these breezed right on past with barely a notice. The writing is clever, the clues well-laid, and every moment has the reader wondering what will happen next.

These characters come across with natural flair. The back-and-forth between Devin and his younger sister rings true to sibling relationships, but then, family remains a theme throughout the read. It adds a wonderful foundation, especially when the family of his classmate and their wonderful restaurant comes into play. The scenes add depth to the characters and relationships without straying away from the main plot. 

It's a quick-paced, which keeps the pages turning from beginning to end, and holds more than a few surprises along the way.

And here he is...

Clark is children's book writer who lives in a small New England town with his wife, two sons, and one cat. Devin Drake and the Family Secret is his eighth published novel. He is currently at work on his latest middle grade project.

1 comment:

Natalie Aguirre said...

Drones, magic, and ghosts--you got me right there. This sounds like a great story, and I like that it's not too long. Glad you enjoyed it so much.