"THEODORE BOONE: The Abduction," by John Grisham, Dutton Children's Books, $16.99, 217 pages (f) (ages 8-12)
Theodore Boone's friend has been taken.
“The abduction of April Finnemore took place in the dead of night, sometime between 9:15 p.m., when she last spoke with Theo Boone, and 3:30 a.m., when her mother entered her bedroom and realized she was gone.”
Thus begins John Grisham’s second children’s novel in his series featuring Boone, a crime-obsessed 13-year-old eager to use his investigative skills and legal knowledge to solve cases. "The Abduction" was released June 6.
The abduction of Theo's best friend sends a wave of shock and fear through the people in Theo’s small hometown. They hug their own children close while the police undertake a desperate manhunt to track down a recently released prisoner who happens to be April’s relative. But as the police repeatedly hit dead ends in their investigation, Theo begins to feel that he alone may hold the key to solving the case.
With the stakes higher than ever and the clock ticking, Theo enlists aid from a few unlikely sources to help him chase down the truth. As Theo remarks to a friend who volunteers his help, “There’s no time to waste.”
Beginning with last year’s bestseller “Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer” and followed by this year’s “Theodore Boone: The Abduction,” Grisham has successfully made the legal thriller genre accessible to children. Reading about the crime-fighting and justice-seeking adventures of a nosy 13-year-old, who spends inordinate amounts of time in his parents’ law offices and at the courthouse, is a fun and educational introduction to our legal system.
Grisham has written this book for a younger audience by completely omitting the more mature content and language found in his adult novels. Because legal education is woven into the novel, however, the pace of the story is slowed at times with explanations and details.
But the plot doesn’t sit still for long, and neither does Theo. With April missing, readers of all ages will find themselves worrying and sleuthing and racing right alongside Theo to find his best friend before it's too late.
Susie Boyce is a writer and avid reader who especially enjoys a good legal thriller. Her website is at www.susieboyce.org.