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Jack Osborne's life changes forever the night men in masks break into his house, threaten Jack and his family, and ransack their home. Jack then discovers the reason these men have come into their lives-his father has been arrested for drug trafficking. Jack, his mother, and his sister are then forced to enter Witness Security Program. Jack becomes "Zach" and moves to Elko, Nevada, a town in the middle of nowhere. There he meets Sam, the strangest school custodian he has ever encountered, and Catalin, a girl who might make Zach's uprooting worth the trouble. But just as Zach finally begins to piece together a new life, he finds himself in danger again-and this time his actions could determine the fates of everyone he cares about.
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Roland Smith is the author of The Last Lobo, Thunder Cave, Jaguar, and Sasquatch. He lives in Oregon with his wife.From School Library Journal:
Grade 5-9-In this contemporary suspense novel, Jack's father, a pilot, has been arrested for drug trafficking. When the cartel thugs come to their house to terrorize the teen, his mother, and his sister, they become candidates for the Witness Security Program and must change their identities. Although the family is told not to bring anything to Nevada that would link them to their former lives, Jack, now Zach, cannot leave his diary behind. With the villains searching for them, there can be no slipups, but the young protagonist soon learns that, in the small town of Elko, "Everyone knows Everything about Everybody." The diary and Zach's vulnerability are well-developed devices, but the plot soon becomes compromised by some unbelievable twists and turns. Zach is befriended by the school custodian, Sam, who acts as the principal's assistant, handling disciplinary cases with counseling and boxing therapy. Sam introduces Zach to the Basque people, sheep tenders in the hills outside town, who conveniently provide a hiding place for Zach when the bad guys arrive. In the biggest stretch of all, Sam outwits the thugs with talents he acquired as a KGB agent. Other details and characters merely set up the chain of events, which is unfortunate because individual chapters are often exciting, and there is a great potential to satisfy suspense fans.
Vicki Reutter, Cazenovia High School, NY
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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