Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Book Review: A Pirate, A Blockade Runner and a Cat


Just how bad can one kid’s life get? When 13-year-old Erik Burks discovers a black lace bra in the glove compartment of his dad’s car his life falls apart. Totally! His mom leaves his father and drags Erik from being king of the hill in Texas to the bottom of the pits in South Carolina. No Dad, no baseball, no friends, just Starry Knight (a girl who reads minds) and her equally weird brother, Stormy, the twins that live down the block.

Just when Erik thinks life can’t get any worse, while hanging out at the beach one evening, he and the twins notice lights radiating from an old, deactivated lighthouse. Stranger still, a ship materializes in the moonlit harbor. On closer inspection, the kids discover the ghost of a blockade runner, a phantom cat, and a pirate who prowls Charleston Harbor, all searching for rest. The ghosts may be the answer to his desire to return home. Erik wants his old life back and he wants answers from his dad. He makes a deal with the ghosts. He’ll help them find what they’re looking for so their spirits can rest in peace. In return, the ghosts will scare Erik’s mother so she’ll be on the next flight back to Texas.

Blackbeard's capture!
What a great tween adventure. This book has everything for kids who like action, mystery, pirates, and ghosts. Author Beverly Stowe McClure very cleverly intersperses real piratical and nautical facts between her fictionalized account of the feud between (historical figures) Major Stede Bonnet and Edward Teach aka Blackbeard. Danger abounds when Erik and his friends board the pirate ghost ship and set sail on their quest to resolve the ghosts’ issues. Magic and mayhem keep the action going, without being too scary. I liked the author’s handling of Erik’s inner turmoil, his confusion over his father’s behavior, and his longing for his life and friends back in Texas. A subtle theme is how children deal with parental break-ups. The author creates a lovely character in Erik, which kids will relate to very well. Storm and Star were less well-developed, but no less entertaining. Very enjoyable. Recommended. Available on Amazon.

RATING:  4 STARS

By Fiona Ingram
First reviewed for Readers’ Favorite
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