March 22, 2013

Review: Paranormal Properties by Tracy Lane

Jake Weir, while on the set of his parents ghost hunting TV show, agrees to help a ghost investigate a 61 year-old murder.
Jake Weir is not like the other kids in Dusk, North Carolina. Then again, Dusk, North Carolina is not like other cities. Known as one of the most haunted cities in America, behind Salem, Massachusetts and New Orleans, Louisiana, Dusk is ground zero for Jake's ghost hunting parents.
The Weir family has arrived in Dusk eager to scope out some of the town's 127 reported "paranormal properties," which just happens to be the name of their own ghost hunting show: Paranormal Properties. What Jake doesn't know, and what his parents could never imagine, is that Jake can see ghosts! And hear them. And talk back to them! This talent comes in handy when he runs into Dusk's oldest, most famous ghost: one Frank Barrone, a one-time lounge singer made famous by his booze-soaked ballad, "Barroom Eyes."
Frank was gunned down by a local mobster in 1951 and has been searching for his killer ever since. When he learns that Jake can see and hear him, Frank makes young Jake a deal: if Jake will help Frank find his killer, Frank will help his parents find a ghost to film for their upcoming Halloween Special on Public Access Channel #319. Jake enlists the only friend he's made in Dusk, an overweight tomboy nicknamed "Tank," to help him track down Frank's killer. As clues emerge and old leads heat up, Frank and Jake learn they make quite a team. But will Jake find Frank's killer? And will Frank find a real haunted house in time for Halloween?
The plot for this book revolves around Jake, a high school-aged teenager who travels with his parents across the country investigating haunted properties for their cable show, Paranormal Properties. In this installment, Jake meets his new best friend, Tank, and Jake's new ghostly sidekick, Frank Barrone. I say installment because Tracy Lane completed the book with an open-ended finish. The mystery behind Frank's murder is an interesting story line that offers readers a chance to see what the 1920's and Prohibition were like. A sneaky but, nonetheless effective, way to get a bit of history in. Tank and her father's strained relationship add a bit of sensitivity to the subject matter, although Lane barely touches on it. The book, in general, is a light, fun read without full character development or real reader-to-character emotional attachment. I was interested in finding out who killed Frank Barrone but not to the point that I had to stay up late at night. The writing flowed smoothly and quickly, which I always appreciate. It's an easy and accessible read for middle schoolers who like a bit of adventure with the added bonus of an interesting historical perspective.
Publisher- Pants of Fire Press
Reviewer Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by~Cindi
Thank you to the Author for the donation of this book to the Read for your Future book Program in exchange for a honest review!~
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