4 out of 5
By Timothy R. Baldwin
Camp Lenape is the first novel in the Kahale and Claude Mystery series and is ideally suited for young adults (age 12 – 14) looking for more mature reading material. The story introduces the reader to Marcus Kahale and Alissa Claude, along with their friends Janice and Nate, who are junior counsellors at Camp Lenape. When Marcus’s younger sister Bri sees something suspicious in the woods and later disappears in the evening, the four friends set out on an adventure to solve the mystery.
This is a fast-paced action filled story, with each clue cleverly set to strengthen the mystery and suspense. The writing is simple and easy to follow. From the beginning. Marcus and Alissa are believable, enjoyable characters to read, and the choices, confrontations, and challenges that they face develop their skills and strengths, making them the ultimate teen heroes. The danger that the teenagers are up against toward the end of the novel is unexpected and exciting, causing the reader to worry and fear about what is going to happen next.
My only criticism is that the book ended way too quickly. Rather than seeing the comeuppances that the adults and troublemakers clearly deserve, the reader is told about them in the epilogue, which detracts from the narrative and left me disappointed. I would have preferred the identity of the antagonists and their motives to have been discovered at the big-reveal like in most mystery fiction.
Overall, this is an engaging novel with characters that all readers, both young adults and the older crowd, can relate to.