Monday, September 1, 2014

Old Bones (Casey Templeton #2), by Gwen Molnar

Dundurn, ISBN 9781459714052, September 2014

Casey Templeton is a fourteen-year-old boy in Alberta, Canada, who has a knack for finding dangerous problems to solve. In the first book, it was a hate cell. This time, it's a plot to rob the Royal Tyrrell Museum, a paleontology museum in Drumheller, Alberta.

Casey and his high school science class go to the Tyrrell on a field trip, including the opportunity to actually work on a dig. In the hot, hot sun, Casey leaves off his hat and takes off his tshirt, because otherwise he wouldn't get heat stroke, go to sleep in a closet and wake up to overhear a conversation between two men plotting the theft, and then wind up in the hospital briefly, then staying with the family of the museum director, whose daughter Mandy is an old friend from Casey's high school before Dr. Norman accepted the position at the Tyrrell.

It's possible I'm a bit impatient with that part of the story.

Casey did see the plotters out the window of his closet, and reveals all to Dr. Norman, after which he gets hired for a summer job watching the museum entrance while doing initial cataloging of fossil finds, so that he can spot the thieves if they come in.

The story moves at a decent pace and the characters are likable. Sadly, Casey's old friend Mandy, Dr. Norman's daughter, is smart, athletic, and spends far too much of the book being a damsel in distress. She is also the only female character of any significance, though Mrs. Norman and Mrs. Templeton have bit parts and a few others are mentioned.

In many ways, despite the up to date technology, this feels like a flashback to the 1950s. I know it's conventional wisdom that girls will read stories about boys, but boys won't read stories about girls, but this is ridiculous.

Not recommended, not for its intended age group or any other.

I received a free electronic galley of this book from the publisher via NetGalley.