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Phantom Writer

by Jerry B. Jenkins
Series: Red Rock Mysteries #6
238 pages, Mystery
Reviewed by Ariel_of_Narnia

A very good mystery with good characters, but a bit creepier than other Red Rock Mysteries.

Plot

Note: Co-authored with Chris Fabry.

Horror writer Jake Konig has disappeared. Bryce and Ashley try to figure out what happened to him while their mom "ghost-writes" the rest of Jake's latest book.

Morality

Bryce and Ashley are good role models except for some of their sleuthing measures. They and their mom care for each other and the Konig family. Right is right and wrong is wrong. Jake's books, even with Bryce's earlier justifications for them, clearly aren't the best things out there.

Spiritual Content

The Timberlines are Christians and attend a church service. Mrs. Timberline wants to be able to say what God would want her to say and she doesn't want to compromise her faith with the book she's ghost-writing. Ashley hopes to reach out to Jake's son about her faith.

We find that Jake had been meeting with the local pastor. A church-goer is hotly against Jake's books. Mrs. Timberline briefly wonders if Jake had been talking with a demon. Jake is once described as "Satan with Microsoft Word".

With Jake being a horror writer, there are supernatural elements to his works. His writing house contains statues of werewolves, vampires, and other monsters. A couple locations the twins visit look and feel like horror-movie locations. They are told a series of ghost stories. Jake's son considers ghosts and communication "from the great beyond".

Violence

Again, since Jake is a horror writer, his works contain blood and death. The ghost stories the twins are told are complete with killings. There's a story involving arson. A man's leg bleeds. The Timberlines are threatened. Jake's disappearance brings about theories of death, accidents, or kidnapping.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Jake apparently wrote some of his stuff while drunk or on drugs. His son considers trying the same (the twins discourage this). A man pours himself some wine at a meal.

Sexual Content

Ashley goes googly-eyed over a good-looking boy and Bryce teases her about it, but nothing beyond that. One theory involves a possible love interest.

Crude or Profane Language or Content

The Timberlines find and watch a dubbed video of a pastor passing gas and are greatly amused by it.

Conclusion

An excellent mystery with excellent characters, though this one is a bit creepier than others in the series.

Fun Score: 5
Values Score: 5
Written for Age: 11-12

Review Rating:

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