Monday, August 6, 2012

Review of 'Alexander, Spy Catcher'

Alexander, Spy Catcher
Book Blurb: A seemingly normal October turns into an exciting and terrifying adventure for Alexander and his brother, Ben, when they discover that their uncle Charlie may be in danger because of a secret government project he is working on.

The boys notice strange happenings around their family's home; for example, why is there a clandestine protected Wi-Fi network on their forest covered property?

When Alexander and Ben suspect that their uncle is being spied upon, they agree to warn him about what they've discovered. But on the same night that they tell him about their ļ¬ndings, he disappears without a trace.

Now, it's up to Alexander, Ben, and their family to solve the mystery about what happened to their uncle and bring him home safely. Although they are determined to rescue Charlie, they don't realize the dangers that lie ahead for them to accomplish this mission.

Read an excerpt:
Things started off quietly that morning. At first, it seemed like any other Saturday. Looking back, this was the day of the first omen, a whisper of what was to come. There was a vague sense that things weren't right. For me, that Saturday was the beginning, even though it really wasn't....

I walked through the woods past the fort, and climbed the embankment. I sat on the railroad tracks in much the same spot as I'd sat with Charlie only days before. Wind moves through something--and one can feel it on the other end. My heart started to pound. I knew I was very close to what I needed to understand....

I heard a car coming up from behind, so the light must have changed. Prickles went up my spine. What if he were to reach out and grab me? Or worse--what if he went after Ben! Why hadn't Ben caught up with me yet?...The next car whizzed past. I wanted so badly to turn around and look, but I pedaled on. I heard another vehicle approach. This was it. It was the third. It would be him!...

The light was turning green when we neared the van. He still had his window down. I looked at him, and he caught sight of me in his mirror. It felt terrible to know that he knew what I knew. For one horrific moment, we stayed suspended like that--me looking into the reflection of his eyes.
My thoughts:

This was a quick read that would have definitely kept my interest as a kid. I was a huge fan of books where kids were amateur sleuths. This one is different from those classics I used to read, though, as it involves the CIA and government research.

Alex and the other kids in his family definitely know way more about these spy things, thanks to Charlie's involvement in the business. That kowledge helped them to get out of a lot of scrapes! What is fun about what they use to get out of these sticky situations is that you also learn something new. The beginning of the book also includes a short glossary to help with understanding. There is also a bit of history involved, as it talks about tunnels being used as part of the Underground Railroad.

I would definitely recommend this book more for middle grades and up, as opposed to early elementary. It involves kidnapping and concussions. It is not scary, but there is enough suspense to keep the pages turning until you are finished reading it. The epilogue makes it seem like there could be further adventures with Alexander and his siblings and cousins, which would be a lot of fun to read. This book will probably inspire some other spies to seek out hidden tunnels and mysteries on their own. Perhaps some adventurers with an imagination may want to try their hand at creating their own adventure stories!

Purchase on Amazon: Kindle | Paperback

About the author:

Diane Stormer worked as both an artist and a flight attendant. She retired shortly after being diagnosed with a rare untreatable neurological disease. She then knew it was time to move her dreams of writing from the back burner.

"It became important to finish the story I had begun writing several years before," remembers Stormer. "I wanted to make my contribution to enrich children�s imagination." And contribute she did. In Alexander, Spy Catcher, Stormer weaves a story jam-packed with mystery, suspense and life lessons sure to capture readers 8-12.

Stormer originally began this story back in 1989, when her own children were ages 7, 9, and 11. In fact, the main characters of this book are loosely based on their personalities. Over the years she took the manuscript out of storage, and worked on it for a while. But, it wasn't until this last autumn, mainly because her brother was urging her to, that she decided to finish it up once and for all!

Because so much time had passed since she first thought of the idea, lots of things in the story had to be updated. When she began it, technology was not nearly to the place it is now, especially when it comes to things we take for granted such as cell phones. Since cell phones--especially "smart" cell phones didn't even exist back in 1989--play a big part in the plot, it turned out for the best that she delayed finishing the story until she did.

Stormer has two sons and a daughter, and lives in Germantown, Maryland. Alexander, Spy Catcher is her first novel. But she says she has already begun a new book, where Alexander and Ben stumble upon another adventure.

**I received a complimentary copy of this book via KSB Promotions in exchange for my honest review.**

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