A VERY NICELY DONE ACTION MYSTRY GHOST STORY FOR THE YOUNG AND NOT SO YOUNG
Nov 26, 2009
It is quite pleasing to read a book aimed at youth readership which has a bit of everything in it and is able to hook the reader on the first page. This remarkable story opens as Jared Millhouse, a young lad who spends the summers with his widowed father and grandfather on the family farm in Lone Jack, Missouri, is playing in a very important baseball game. Unfortunately Jared is by far the worse player on the team and as he misses a game winning fly ball hit to his right field position, he encounters a ghostly figure of a woman as he searches for the lost ball he misses.
The story picks up steam here and is pretty well non-stop action until the final page. This is a rather unique read in that the author has been able to incorporate several genres within the covers of one book. We of course have a very well written supernatural ghost story that is bound to raise the hair on the back of any kid's neck. We have a very good story; quite accurate actually, of a little known Civil War Battle that teaches while entertaining. We have a story of youthful friendship very reminiscent in the coming of age story based on the Stephen King novella, "The Body," and we have a very good and accurate profile of small town life in the Midwest. Tightly written prose, with a touch of humor here and there, makes reading this one a pure delight.
Drifting from the supernatural to the real world and back, the author has taken a rather difficult premise and made it sound and read quite natural. His highly accurate description of the town, surrounding country and people who inhabit it is quite remarkable. Living near this area and having visited the town and battlefield of Lone Jack many, many times over the years, I can attest to the fact that the author has his facts in a very straight line. As a matter of fact, I have a round of grapeshot from that battle setting on my desk as I write this review.
Lance Lee Noel also seems to know children of the age he writes; their emotions, unpredictability, attitudes towards adults and peers and general outlook on life. He, the author is able to see the eyes through the eyes of a ten year old boy, using the same logic and coming to the same conclusions. This is a rare gift indeed for an adult. Not all that many writers can pull this off but Noel has done it in flying colors.
I was particular delighted with the author's description of and account of historical fact. Now reader take note...this particular battle was one of the most intense and viciously savage battles occurring on the Western Front of the war. It was an extremely personal battle as the soldiers on both sides were for the most part all "local boys" and as one historian has put it...."both sides were the home team." More than 280 men died in this battle it is said, although I suspect this figure is much higher in reality. I make this statement in that the author is quite vivid in his description of parts of the battle as he is quite vivid in his description of some of the supernatural, ghostly, ghoulish characters in this work. This is good, as this is what most kids want in their reading; I only mention it to warn the parent. There has been some mention that the language some of the children use may not be appropriate, nor their disrespect for adult authority. I can assure you that if you are around this group age very long, you will find that the author has actually been quite easy on the kids. Don't fooled...kids do talk this way and kids do act out this way quite frequently. Don't take me wrong, there is no hard profanity here, only the poo poo jokes and giggling over farts and the like. The young reader will most certainly be able to identify with each and every character in this work.
When not dealing with the ghosts and problems of the past, we have a group of kids dealing with the ordinary problems of kids now days; bullies, dysfunctional parents and households, abusive authority figures and the simple insecurities of youth on the edge of adulthood. Life is life, even in a good fantasy story.
I do highly recommend this one and might add that I know of quite a number of older children; indeed, adults, that will take delight in reading this one.
A popular belief among paranormal researchers is that spirits will often haunt the place where they met an untimely and/or a violent death. Many will supposedly hang around in an attempt to tend to unfinished business. Author Lance Lee Noel utilizes this in "The Ghosts of Lone Jack." While spending the summer at his grandfather's farm, young Jared Millhouse and his friends find themselves face to face with ghosts from one of the bloodiest battles in American Civil War history … more
Noel, Lance Lee. "The Ghosts of Lone Jack", Spinning Moon Press, 2009. Feeling the Pain Amos Lassen The American Civil War was one of the most painful periods in American history. In this educational and entertaining book we get a sense of what the men who fought felt and we also get a peek at our heritage and a need to keep the past fulfilled. Jared Millhouse and his dad went to spend the summer … more
Retirement does not suit me and I now substitute teach in our local schools system. I spent twenty years in the military, twenty years in health care as a consultant and have taught in various colleges … more
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This very well written story gives young readers a sense of the anguish that the men who fought at Lone Jack, and so many other battles across the country, felt during this very dark period in our nation's history. But more importantly, it gives young readers a glimpse into their heritage and will hopefully instill in them the need to preserve our past. -- --Alinda M. Miller, President, Lone Jack Historical Society; Site Administrator, Lone Jack Civil War Battlefield, Soldier s Cemetery and Museum