Review provided by Alexander Mayeux
A fun and lighthearted story that all ages could enjoy
The Mystery of the lost will is a very fun, lighthearted, and interesting story that managed to keep me hooked the whole time. It follows Kalani and Tristen Henderson as they attempt to discover the secret lost will of Wyatt Granger, and their conflicts with the DeVille family - the people originally intended to inherit the will - as well as other mishaps that occur along the way.
I really enjoyed reading through it, and it’s simple tone made me want to read more of the story, as it is refreshing to see something different and more lighthearted from time to time.
Something else that I really enjoyed were the characters and their relationships. For instance, Kalani and Tristen are written like siblings who constantly bicker over everything with each other, and their roles of who is the big and little brother are very prominent. Kalani as the older brother bosses Tristen around, while little Tristen does not do much in response. Being a middle child and having brothers of my own, the interactions between the two siblings in the book are very accurate. Another relationship that I enjoyed and really appreciate is the relationship of Mason Henderson and his kids. He is not the stereotypical father character who always acts kind of dense, but rather is a very smart and kind person who cares about his children and family very much when they are in danger or struggling. All in all, the characters and relationships are very well written and feel human and real.
The representation of Navajo culture in this story is also great and I actually learned quite a bit about it. Danner is another great character who I found to be a great representation of Navajo people. Being around Navajo people and even having a few Navajo friends of my own, he is a good representation of them and part of their culture. And I found the rest of the representation of their culture in the story to be very interesting.
In conclusion, The Mystery of the Lost Will is a great story! It is a lot of fun, is wonderfully written, has some really interesting and cool representation of Navajo culture, and is overall just a great story for all ages. I enjoyed reading through it my first time, and I would definitely read it again. I highly recommend this to anyone who wants a story that is fun and lighthearted while still managing to bring some interesting themes and information to the table.
Review provided by David Selby, retired teacher and principal
Wow! Finally, a book for boys. This is action all the way that morphs naturally into an engaging mystery.
Kalani and Tristan are two high school boys who with Danner, their Navajo friend and classmate, uncover some curious facts relating to a missing will involving the sinister, social climbing DeVille family. Their detective work takes them around the Four Corners area. Reminiscent of the Hardy Boys but with cell phones, video games, and computers, the brothers find themselves in some spine tingling situations pursuing the lost will of old Mr. Granger.
Along the way, we learn a few things about the law and about Navajo culture. Do you know what a Bilagana is? You might be one!
If you have a twelve year old boy in your family, get him this book. He’ll have a hard time putting it down.
Review provided by Britt H Bodtker, author, screenplay writer, student at San Juan Community College
“Kalani was staring down the business end of a .38 caliber pistol…Escape was out of the question.”
Hold your horses! And get ready for the Wild West brought into the 21st Century!
Welcome to the Four Corners, where New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and Colorado all meet. The most recent offering by Jack Yerby, The Mystery of the Lost Will, has it all: sheriffs, Navajo Indians, good guys, some really bad guys, and even a shootout with cops and robbers. There’s a mystery to be solved and our two heroes, Kalani and Tristen Henderson, are right in the thick of it.
Mason Henderson, a retired police officer from Houston, has moved his family to Flora Vista, New Mexico, in hopes of a quieter life, and is now an investigator with the San Juan County Sheriff’s Department. His two teenage sons, Kalani, a junior in high school, and Tristen, a freshman, are out of school for the summer. Kalani always seems to be on the lookout for a crime to solve—he admires his dad and wants to follow in his footsteps. His younger brother Tristen still has a lot to learn and though he might not tell you if you ask, he really looks up to Kalani. The small village of Flora Vista is a big change from Houston but fortunately the boys have befriended a Navajo boy, Danner, who helps them fit in and understand this new and different culture.
A very wealthy member of the community, Wyatt Granger, died during the past winter. Old Man Granger, as the kids call him, ran a trading post and made a fortune selling Navajo rugs and jewelry to collectors all over the country. Granger always looked out for his friends and neighbors—he was the type of guy who would give you the shirt off his back. There are rumors that he may have rewritten his will. Just before he died, Wyatt had promised his niece and nephew, plus his very close and deserving neighbors, that he would take care of them in a new, updated will. The only problem is, now this second will is nowhere to be found!
Wyatt Granger’s nephew Melvin DeVille wants to keep it that way—as it stands, he’s set to inherit millions, the entire fortune. A second will might throw a wrench into the works. Melvin is not a very nice guy and his twin children, Akron and Tulsa, are even worse. Kalani has seen first hand the cruelty that the twins inflict on others. His intuition tells him there is a second will, and he is determined to find it!
The author of this story, Jack Yerby, is a long time resident of the Four Corners. He is very familiar with the area and it shows. You might even be tempted to pull up a map and find the places where the brothers go digging up clues: Farmington, Flora Vista, Shiprock, Durango, Vallecito, Aztec. “For years this two lane road following the Animas River had been the main road between Aztec and Farmington with the little village of Flora Vista sitting halfway between them.” His descriptions might even make you wish you lived there: “The Henderson brothers were awestruck by the beauty of the steep pine covered peaks with patches of crusty snow peaking out of dark sunless crags.”
Yerby also knows teenage boys, having taught high school for many years. Kalani is tall and plays basketball, while the younger Tristen is stockier and has an aptitude for wrestling, which sometimes helps him keep his older brother in line: “As he slammed his tall, skinny brother down to the floor, he wrapped his short, muscular legs around him and moved his brother into a painful wrestling move called the guillotine.” Tristen is pretty good at taking down Kalani but by the end of the book his wrestling prowess earns Kalani’s respect. The relationship between Kalani and Tristen may remind you of your own brothers or sisters: Can’t live with them, can’t live without them.
The Mystery of the Lost Will is a fun and exciting read. The setting is spectacular, the characters are true to life—not perfect but real. The story is engaging—I didn’t want to put the book down until the mystery was solved. Would Kalani and Tristen find the lost will in time to help their friends? The only way to find out is to read it for yourself!
Review provided by Kathleen Holmes, poet and sculptor
Even before Kalani Henderson can acquire his driver’s license he is gaining investigative experience in his pursuit of Wyatt Granger’s lost will. Younger brother, Tristan, and best friend, Danner, join forces in Kalani’s relentless search for the truth. Did Wyatt Granger leave behind a will from his trading post fortune to the people in his life who deserve his help? Or will the cruel Deville family, who housed Mr. Granger in the last year of his life, end up with his vast fortune? The Deville twins, Akron and Tulsa, are bullies who need to be stopped.
The tumultuous relationship of brotherhood along with parental love and frustration bring a mixture of laughter and tears to the reader. Revelations and insights of Navajo culture are as rich as the clues the boys stumble across. This book is impossible to put down. The twist and turns in the plot are as steep and fast moving as the breathtaking scenery where the story takes place in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Yerby captures the spirit of fleeting boyhood as these three young men face responsibilities and look danger squarely in the eye. The Mystery Of The Lost Will is an enjoyable and heartwarming story written for young people. However, this book is a great read for all age groups; young or old.
Review provided by Vicky Ramakka, Author of the award-winning The Cactus Plot
High school junior Kalani Henderson and his side-kick younger brother, Tristen, are zooming along a back road on their motorcycles on an errand fom their father. A thunderstorm drives them to take shelter in an old barn. The owners, two young brothers struggling to make a go of their small repair shop, help them out. Kalani and Tristen learn of their crushed hopes of growing their machine repair business. The inheritance they were promised in the will of a recently-deceased elderly friend has disappeared. Suspicion is strong that the family that cared for the man in his last year has substituted a fake will making them the sole benefactors of the man’s considerable wealth.
Kalani takes on the task of tracking down the actual will that designated those who helped the man when he fell on hard times. Kalani cleverly picks up on clues that others miss. There is plenty of action as Kalani, Tristen, and friend Danner, exhibit bravery and persistence in the face of hair-raising threats.
Middle school and high school readers will find plenty to identify with and enjoy in The Mystery of the Lost Will. Perhaps they may even envy Kalani and Tristen’s brotherly teasing, as well as their caring and protection of each other. References to names and places of the Four Corners region will tickle local readers and add realism for all readers. There are lots of fun expressions such as the “Rez Rocket,” the name for the pickup of their Navajo friend, Danner.
The book has appealing extra touches such as a clever graphic at the beginning of each chapter that hints at what is about to be revealed. The author drops in important advice such as carrying water when out hiking and having a life preserver while boating. The Mystery of the Lost Will is written for young adults, but this septuagenarian found myself reading every page until clever Kalani solved the mystery of the lost will.