If Only One Needn’t Grow Up

When Peter Pan came into your life, whether from a book, a movie, or a play, it was magic. Most of us met him when we were children and it was wonderful to believe in a world where there were no grownups to make you eat your vegetables, where there were amazing adventures to be had, where you didn’t have to grow up and stop having fun; and, we all began to have dreams in which we could fly.

I never stopped to ask, well who was Peter and how did he wind up in Never Never Land? How come he can fly? Why doesn’t he grow up? Why, of all the houses in London did he go to the Darling’s house? And as I grew up I began to forget the joy of Peter Pan.

Peter and the Starcatchers, by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson,

Peter and the Starcatchers

Peter and the Starcatchers

brought it all back. This magical book is the first in a trilogy that answers all those questions and takes you, no matter what your age, to Never Land again. It is a book that you can read to children when they are old enough for such a long book and it will treat them to Peter and the pirates, the crocodile and Tinker Bell. It is also a book that teens will enjoy for its magic and fantasy and the battle between good and evil. And it is a book that adults will enjoy for the careful and quiet telling of the poignancy of having your friends grow up and leave you behind.

Peter and the Shadow Thieves

Peter and the Shadow Thieves

The story continues with Peter and the Shadow Thieves. These are not short make-believe stories, they check in at 500 – 600 pages each. The dialogue is right-on, mixed with humor when the situation is at its most dire. Bravery and courage are the underlying themes; needed when the villain is really most dangerous.

Peter and the Secret of Rundoon

Peter and the Secret of Rundoon

For the most enjoyment these books should be read in order. And if you are left wanting more, there are two more books that begin 20 years after the end of Peter and the Secret of Rundoon. Peter’s friend in London, Molly, has grown up and married George Darling and they have three children.  Yes, there are more adventures to be had before J. M. Barrie gets to take Peter on his adventure.

White Fire by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child

White FireA member of the Baker Street Irregulars died, and his widow donated all his Sherlockiana to John Jay College of Criminal Justice, perhaps thinking that Holmes was a real life detective. Among the papers was a photocopy of Doyle’s diary relating a meeting that took place in 1889 between Doyle, Oscar Wilde, Joe Stoddart and William Gill, in which Wilde relates a horrific story that was told to him while he was on a trip to America. Eleven miners had been killed and eaten by a monstrous Grizzly Bear.

White Fire features a student at John Jay, Carrie Swanson, and her mentor, Special Agent Pendergast of the FBI. Swanson has a research project that takes her to a town high in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. She is there to study the bones of prospectors from the 1880s who were killed and eaten by a rogue Grizzly.

Powerful people in the town don’t want the bones studied and when Carrie persists she is arrested and is in danger of spending several years in jail. Pendergast arrives in town to help Carrie’s case. An arsonist suddenly begins setting fire to multi-million dollar homes, killing the inhabitants.

Not having read any other books by the team of Preston & Child, I can’t say if this is a typical book by them or not. I will say that I would have to classify it as more of a ‘thriller’ than a ‘mystery’, even though there are mysteries to be solved. (Perhaps I have read too many mysteries now, but it seemed pretty obvious who the arsonist is.) There are other crimes though. What really happened to the miners? Why don’t people want the miners bones studied? Who is responsible for the repeated attempts to discourage Carrie, or kill her? Who is the arsonist? Is there a connection between the miner’s deaths and the current fires? How does Doyle’s diary tie in? Is there a missing Holmes story?

The story ties the older story and the modern events together perfectly. Pendergast brings in a new character, Captain Stacy Bowdree, USAF, and I hope she features in further Pendergast stories. If she does, I’ll be there.

Ice Cold Kill by Dana Haynes

Ice Cold KillGreat thriller read – Complex, action packed, a kick-ass, ice-cold lady heroine.

Daria Gibron has been cunningly set up as a link to a terrorist and every intelligence agency is after her. The set up is a distraction from a horrifying plot and Daria must actually team up with the real terrorist to prevent disaster. I’d put her up against James Bond any day. This is one dangerous lady.

I’m convinced that Ice Cold Kill and Runner, by Patrick Lee, will be the top thrillers of 2014.    ( )