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Cursed with the ability to discern whether or not a person is telling the truth, Sam nevertheless may be able to use his new power to solve a crime
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Grade 5-8-- All 16 kids in Alder Creek Elementary/Jr. High School get to try dowsing with Uncle Gene on a SOT (same old thing) field trip one spring day. It's not until skeptical Sam takes hold of the stick, though, that anything interesting happens. Sam turns out to be a ``water witch'' and this triggers both another ability in him and an intriguing mystery. Suddenly, his arms tingle when someone is lying, and to his growing horror, almost everyone in this tiny California town is doing so. The boy stumbles onto one secret after another, uncovering big and small falsehoods, white lies and very dark ones. Some serious problems are touched on too lightly, but the mystery carries the story with surprising turns, danger, and excitement. Sam is the only fully realized character, but the others are human and sensitive, including his two peers--a romantic interest and a solid best friend--and plenty of odd adults. Sam, like Jason in Alfred Slote's Finding Buck McHenry (HarperCollins, 1991), discovers some truths about lies and life as the plot gathers speed. Once Sam gets ``the power,'' things in Alder Creek are certainly not MOTSOT (more of the same old thing). Neither is Liars.
-Susan Oliver, Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library System
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
The placid daily routine in tiny Alder Creek, California, flies apart when an old prospector's house is first rifled, then burnt down--and when teenager Sam Thompson discovers both a talent for dowsing and an apparently related ability to tell when people are lying. Sam finds that everyone he talks to-- schoolmates, neighbors, even his own father--is hiding something. Was the fire deliberate or accidental? Why has the atmosphere in town become so tense? Suspense mounts as events move to a climax: Sam is menaced by a hooded gunman and later gets a threatening phone call; another fire is set; and he catches Dr. Vincent, a prominent local citizen, prowling through his house. Finally, Dr. Vincent confesses to the dirty deeds--he'd been desperately trying to destroy an incriminating photograph of his private marijuana patch--and Sam learns that not all lies arise from evil motives. Oddly, Sam's ESP plays no major role in resolving this taut, well-constructed mystery. (Fiction. 12-15) -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Book Description Simon Pulse, 1995. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0689801300