Herculeah Jones: The Black Tower

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Good mystery and characters
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Reader reviewed by Denise

Amateur sleuth Herculeah Jones takes a seemingly innocuous job reading
to an elderly man incapable of movement or speech, but she quickly
realizes nothing is what it seems. The man tries to communicate clues to
Herculeah that something is amiss. With the help of her nervous friend
Meat, Herculeah uncovers a plot concerning hidden sisters, family
friction, fortune, kidnapping, and murder.

This was my first introduction to Herculeah, and while this book is
not the first in the series, it was easy enough to read as a stand alone
story. A few references were made to character developments made in
previous books, but no major plot points were spoiled and there were no
gaps. Herculeah and Meat made for a fun duo, with Meat's scaredy-cat
tendencies nicely balancing out Herculeah's recklessness. Chapters are
short and often end on cliffhangers, so the story moves rapidly making
this a good pick for reluctant readers.

The story had sufficient excitement, fright, suspense, and mystery
to entertain juvenile readers. The contrast between Herculeah and Meat
gives this book wide appeal in that bold kids, shy kids, boys, and girls
can all find something with which they can relate. As an adult, I found
the story cute and not overly predictable. The length, while longer for
a younger kid, made this a very quick read for me more on par with a
short story. I read this book to see if a little girl I know might like
it (I think she will), but I might even pick up a few of the other books
in the series for myself for when I'm in the mood for a short and sweet
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