From School Library Journal
Grade 4-7–Josh, 12, is furious at his mom and step-dad, who are spending their summer in India while he is trapped in Carbon City, WA. Aunt Ethel is very peculiar–she serves dinner for breakfast and thinks the peacock living on the porch is her dead sister. Josh's luck turns when he discovers a tree house and a stray cat with kittens nearby. He also meets a ghost named Willie, who shares the tragic story of his death and convinces Josh to dig up his leg bones and reunite them with the rest of his body. When Josh stumbles upon a metal box full of money buried with Willie's leg, he heads home with the cash, planning to tell Ethel and to call the police. But she breaks her ankle and is rushed to the hospital before he gets the chance. Later that night, the owner of the cash tracks down Josh and demands it back at gunpoint. Willie, the peacock, and a quick-thinking neighbor come to Josh's aid and foil the thief. This fast-paced and engaging book should be a hit with fans of ghost stories. Josh is a rich character to whom readers can relate and they will cheer him on as he searches for the truth.–Alison Grant, West Bloomfield Township Public Library, MI
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Gr. 5-8. By turns comic and scary, Kehret's seventeenth novel is rooted in both the supernatural and the gritty reality of coal miners' lives in the first years of the last century. Hero-narrator Josh is sent to stay with a distant relative in Carbon City, Washington. From the moment he crosses the threshold of his aunt's old country house and witnesses her using a shotgun on a bat in the kitchen, he knows he has crossed into a life new and strange. With no TV, CDs, or DVDs, Josh occupies himself with a long bike ride into town, past a cemetery and a tree house said to be haunted. And haunted it is. Its ghost, the specter of an old coal miner who died in a disaster in 1903, has a mission for Josh; he wants the boy to dig up his leg, which was buried before the miner died, and reunite it with the rest of him. When Josh exhumes the limb, he discovers a buried box of cash. A bored kid in a dead-end town turns sleuth in this fun, fast-moving caper. Connie FletcherCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved