Thirteen-year-old Arthur Kinkaid is no stranger to solving mysteries. Why, he’s solved a couple on his own already! Arthur understands that what at first seems mysterious will likely have a mundane, everyday explanation. A missing man might be closer to home than previously thought. A ghost might have its origins in the natural world. Regardless of its solution, every mystery brings a little excitement to Arthur’s life.
Unfortunately, when THE MESSAGE IN THE PAINTED ROCK begins, summer has arrived–and with it so has boredom. With his friends all away on vacation, poor Arthur anticipates a dull summer ahead. But when Marya Zamora, the granddaughter of a beloved neighbor, comes to stay, Arthur finds himself tasked with showing her around his hometown of Coronado Springs. It isn’t long before the two encounter yet another mystery–and this one will change everything Arthur ever believed to be true. That’s because this mystery’s solution is far from mundane. Arthur and Marya must race against time to find a centuries-old relic. In doing so, they must decipher the message in the painted rock and battle powerful forces beyond their comprehension. Along the way, the two will encounter some unusual allies who will aid them in their quest. As evil closes in, the two teens must fight both outside enemies and internal fears–or else!
Readers young and old will find much to enjoy in THE MESSAGE IN THE PAINTED ROCK. Younger readers will enjoy the teen protagonists and fast-paced story. Older readers will appreciate the nimble plot and realistic characters. All readers will love the mystery, which spans centuries and blends fact and fiction, introducing readers to Arthurian legend, Spanish conquistadors, and incredible creatures.
Author Tom Blanton’s writing is natural and the dialogue authentic–no strained or contrived writing here. The conclusion to the novel is particularly satisfying and while the storyline is nicely resolved at the end, the author creates the potential for the adventures to continue. It is clear that solving this mystery is only the beginning for Arthur and Marya.
With its realistic, engaging characters, fast-paced plot, and engrossing mystery, THE MESSAGE IN THE PAINTED ROCK is a satisfying novel for readers of all ages.
~Jennifer Noll for IndieReader