READING TIME: 2 Hours, 40 minutes
WORDS: 38,709 PUBLISHED: 2007 READING LEVEL: 4.0
BOOK JACKET DESCRIPTION: Nine months after 9/11, everyone wanted life to return to normal. But when Charles Stavros boards the State Tours bus, twelve-year-old Kevin Saunders is sure this exotic-looking stranger is up to no good. He sits alone. He has a bushy black mustache and sinister eyebrows. He carries a red bag with him wherever he goes – and even talks to it.
Kevin confides his suspicions to Geneva, a girl he meets on the tour bus. Together they watch the man’s every move. Kevin is convinced Stavros isn’t a typical tourist, interested in the Great Salt Lake, the Grand Tetons, or even Yellowstone National Park. Kevin knows Stavros, red bag in hand, has something much bigger in mind, and it’s up to Kevin to save the day and maybe even the world
LINES OF DIVERSITY THAT CAUSE REFLECTION: This guy looked like he might be Saudi Arabian or even Iraqian, if there such a word. He was dark skinned, with bushy black eyebrows and a bushier mustache. So maybe it was natural for me to be on the alert.
MY THOUGHTS: A mystery centered around people’s perception that appearance (profiling as it is often called) is a worrisome path to take. Told from Kevin’s viewpoint, his young eyes and his desire to be a mystery writer causes the images he sees in his mind to be very believable. The man with the red bag, maybe not so much. The story is fast paced and although I thought I had the ending figured out, it was a bit surprising. Fun trip through some of our nation’s most spectacular sights. Boys and girls would equally enjoy.
NEXT UP: THE JACKET by ANDREW CLEMENTS
MY MOTIVATION LEVEL: Camp is over and a driving break has helped clear my mind for the next push forward. I’ll repeat the drill for the second day of the camp tomorrow. So far I’m on schedule to complete five books today.