From School Library Journal
Grade 6–9—Twelve-year-old Tor has recently moved from southern California to a small ski resort in Colorado where his mother is starting her first job after finishing her medical training. When Dr. Sinclair's first patient, a high school student named Brian, unexpectedly dies, mother and son become aware of a curse that has been beleaguering the town's doctors since the 1950s. Pressured by a local doctor who wanted to buy her family's mountain for ski development, a Ute woman (who also happens to be the ancestor of Tor's first friend in town) cursed the doctor and all of Snow Park's future healers. Through some extraordinary coincidences, Tor is able to both solve the mystery surrounding Brian's death and uncover the lost mining deed, which will ensure that the mountain will not be developed (and thus remove the curse). As the plot creaks laboriously along, with improbability piling upon improbability, the whole thing becomes increasingly difficult to follow and even more difficult to care about. Snowboarding information and Native American lore are nicely integrated into the events of the novel, but few readers will stick around long enough to notice.—Richard Luzer, Fair Haven Union High School, VT
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When Torin Sinclair’s mother lands a job as a doctor in Snow Park, Colorado, Torin looks forward to learning how to snowboard. The sudden death of a young snowboarder, however, causes public hostility toward his mother. Then Torin learns of an old curse placed on all of the town’s physicians. Building on the classic formula of the newcomer who encounters the strangely hostile residents of a small western town, Ramthun spins an adventurous mystery that features elements of the supernatural, chases on snowboards, abandoned mine tunnels, a dramatic avalanche, and a blood-doping scandal. Along the way, Torin and his friends help unmask a criminal and save a colony of river otters. Some readers may be disappointed with the ending, in which the kids’ sleuthing is downplayed. Still, snowboarders will like the action scenes, and mystery fans will enjoy puzzling over the entwined plot elements. Grades 4-7. --Todd Morning