The Blue Coyote is an IndieBRAG Medallion honoree and a finalist in the 2013 CLUE Awards.
Frannie and Larry Shoemaker love taking their grandchildren, Sabet and Joe, camping with them. But at Bluffs State Park, Frannie finds herself worrying more than usual about their safety, and when another young girl disappears from the campground in broad daylight, her fears increase. The fun of a bike ride, a flea market, marshmallow guns, and a storyteller are quickly overshadowed. Accusations against Larry and her add to the cloud over their heads. Frannie begins to puzzle out the mystery: Are the itinerant road workers as much of a threat as Frannie thinks? What about the lone woman camper who also disappears? Or is the girl's deadbeat dad behind it all?
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The Blue Coyote
"... when it hits closer to home."
Larry and Frannie love camping, a chance for all the family to spend time together and friends to join them, too. But amidst the bustle of intergenerational chaos there is one sound which Larry cannot abide - the clack, clack of trainer wheels on bicycle being ridden back and forth. It is this obsession to end his irritation which gets Larry into prime suspect position when a little girl goes missing.
Although the storyline itself is pretty weak and predictable despite the introduction of various red herrings, the strength of this book lies in it's portrayal of the group's interaction, young and old, enjoying time together away from the mundane everyday life. With numerous people and much conversation, Michelle Babb is excellent at giving individual voice to each as well as maintaining a well paced reading of the text. Her narration is warm, perfect for the family experience, and very pleasant to hear. But not even she is able to counteract the frequently repeated, "he said ...", "she said ...", "someone replied..." so often recurring during conversational periods - not really noticeable in print but unmissable when read aloud.
This is a fun to read/hear book which gives a great sense of the bustle of families enjoying precious time together with all of the pranks and easy going irritability of people who love each other.And there's a lightweight mystery thrown in as well.
- Norma Miles