Theodore Boone: The Accused
John Grisham’s third Theodore Boone story finds the clever eighth grader attending a trial for a man accused of killing his wife. Theodore gets the last seat at the media-filled event only to learn that the suspect has run away. He marvels that someone could spend his life on the run.
On the day of the trial, Theo discovers that his locker has been burglarized, with inhalers, a Twins baseball cap and some notebooks stolen, and later finds his bike tire slashed. After boy scouts the next day, his tire is slashed again. Theo suspects the vandal is another student, but can’t think of anyone who hates him that much. He carries his bike to his parents’ law offices only to find them in the middle of a big argument among his mothers’ divorce clients. He has to leave to go tutor kids at the homeless shelter, so there's no time to tell his parents what has been happening.
"THEODORE BOONE: THE ACCUSED is a fast-paced novel with a likable, smart hero and a mystery that is all-too realistic. Those new to the series will be able to follow along even if they have not read the previous two adventures, but it’s likely that readers will want to delve into the entire series."
That night, a computer store is robbed; several expensive laptops, smart phones and more are stolen. At school the following day, Theo is called into the office and asked about the robbery. The detectives search his locker and find two laptops. Theo knows they were not in there that morning and that he did not rob the store. The detectives had received an anonymous tip, though, that Theo was the thief.
A photo of Theo and his parents leaving the police station after questioning is sent over the Internet, and soon everyone knows he is accused of the crime. A rock is thrown through the window of his workroom at the law offices, and Theo wants to run away. When his parents make him return to school, he gets in a fight after being taunted and ends up on suspension.
The suspension gives Theo time to try and figure out who is targeting him, with the help of his uncle Ike, who likes to bend legal rules to learn information. Through Ike, Theo finds out that he and another family member are actually the targets, and soon the investigation heats up. The police then search the Boone home and make it clear that Theo is their only suspect. Theo’s tire is slashed again, and he has to draw on his friends’ help and networking to discover who is behind all the attacks.
While trying to prove the authorities wrong, Theo has to help with another case in animal court, involving a spitting llama. There is plenty of humor like that in between the attacks on Theo to keep the story moving.
THEODORE BOONE: THE ACCUSED is a fast-paced novel with a likable, smart hero and a mystery that is all-too realistic. Those new to the series will be able to follow along even if they have not read the previous two adventures, but it’s likely that readers will want to delve into the entire series.
Reviewed by Amy Alessio on June 1, 2012