When I first heard about Patrick Carman’s Skeleton Creek, I was excited. Especially since it is a multi-platform novel like Cathy’s Book, Cathy’s Key, Cathy’s Ring, and the 39 Clues series. When I first saw the packaging on the shelf, I had the book in my hands before I knew it. The concept, teens investigating a gold dredge with a creepy history, with content written in a journal and video films on a website, intrigued me from the beginning.
The book is well-written and reads very much like a journal. I really like Ryan, the book’s viewpoint character. He’s real and honest, and he’s locked into a situation that is definitely over his head, and maybe a bit more than dangerous. I didn’t get a real feel for Sarah’s character yet. I read a lot of what Ryan had to say about her, and I heard her voiceovers in the online content, but it’s not enough. I hope the two of them get together in the next book so she’s on stage more.
Carman has got an interesting mystery he’s “digging” into. (See, that’s a pun. A dredge is a mining machine that digs into the earth.) There seems to be plenty of history, and I like how the town took its name from the 22-mile long trench left behind by the dredging machine. The image of that limestone-dotted creek will stay in my mind for a long time.
There appears to be lots of clues and hints on the horizon before we get to solve the mystery, and a lot of people are involved – in some fashion. Some of them are creepy and mysterious, like the lady librarian and the new wilderness ranger, and some of them are old friends of the family who have secrets. In the case of Ryan’s dad, he’s got a parent who's involved and seems dead-set against anyone pursuing an investigation into the dredge. This is definitely a goose bump-raiser and I’m looking forward to seeing how it works out.