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 Sheriff from Houston, Texas, 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, and Tristen, a freshman, are off 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 a 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 twins 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, as he 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!
author and screen writer