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Skeleton Creek #3: The Crossbones


Skeleton Creek #3: The Crossbones

Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean people aren’t really out to get youI am sure someone or something is out to get me. Whatever it is escaped from the abandoned Dredge and has leaked out into the rest of the world. It’s loose, it’s angry, and it’s looking for me.

After all the adventures from the first two books, there is still more to Ryan’s story.  Yes, he and Sarah are kind of town heroes for having discovered what was going on at the old Dredge. Also, everyone is now richer for the gold they found beneath the floorboards of the ghostly building. Ryan, unfortunately, is still waiting for his riches as it’s all been put in a trust until he turns 18 (…feels like a million years from now.) The worst part is that Sarah’s family has moved to Boston. She is enrolled in film school at UCLA for a summer course, and Ryan is feeling more abandoned than ever. She has escaped Skeleton Creek, and he is doomed to boredom working in his dad’s fishing shop and watching his new friend Fitz tie flies. Ryan likes to fish, but there’s much more…

One little thing to still consider is the envelope. Ryan took the envelope from beneath the floorboards of the Dredge. He didn’t actually mean to keep it, but slipped it into his pocket, stuck it in a drawer and forgot about it --- until now. Perhaps that envelope has some valuable information from “old” Joe Bush. When he opens it, there is a message --- in the form of a two-sided card, a hand-drawn kind of map, and obviously filled with clues to solve.

I’d found the Skull Puzzle, because that’s what it was: skulls and tombstones and guns. A puzzle of the dead.

The summer is now far from boring because once he contacts Sarah, she wants to be in on this. Even with the miles between them, they are an unbeatable team. Sarah’s film project will be to visit the “most haunted” places between California and Boston --- allowing her to actually visit the locations Ryan is able to cipher from the puzzle. In a matter of a week, Sarah will clock over 5,000 miles and visit four of the creepiest places ever, including the infamous Winchester House. What she and Ryan are able to put together from the clues she gathers is totally chilling. The fact that a ghost has been following her has made the ordeal all the more frightening. Ryan realizes what a dangerous situation still exists with the Crossbones and that the mysterious society is far from finished with them.

Here are some of the questions Ryan and Sarah need to answer: 

There are other unanswered questions and so many frightening moments still to be faced. Sarah continues to send her messages with the passwords so Ryan and the reader can keep up with the ghostly films she sends. The story moves fast, and it’s worth watching all the videos twice to appreciate what they are up against. 

Do yourself a favor and go to the Skeleton Creek website for more exploration and downloads, and visit Patrick Carman’s website to see his interviews and some behind-the-scenes footage. Book three delivers another supernatural, frightening adventure that leaves readers, along with Ryan and Sarah, looking for more answers. Perhaps the fourth installment will peel away the final layers to reveal the strange truths behind the Crossbones and Skeleton Creek. Stay tuned!

Reviewed by Sally Tibbetts on September 1, 2010

Skeleton Creek #3: The Crossbones
by Patrick Carman

  • Publication Date: September 1, 2010
  • Genres: Mystery, Suspense
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
  • ISBN-10: 0545249945
  • ISBN-13: 9780545249942