Another Review at MyShelf.Com

Publisher: Science2Discover, Inc.
Release Date: January 1, 2004
ISBN: 0-9673811-6-9
Format Reviewed: Softcover
Buy it at Amazon
Read an Excerpt
Genre: Children’s Fiction – Mystery/Thriller – Age 8-13
Reviewed: 2004
Reviewer: Kristin Johnson
Reviewer Notes: Reviewer, Kristin Johnson, released her second book; CHRISTMAS COOKIES ARE FOR GIVING, co-written with Mimi Cummins, in October 2003. Her third book, ORDINARY MIRACLES: My Incredible Spiritual, Artistic and Scientific Journey, co-written with Sir Rupert A.L. Perrin, M.D., is now available from Publish America.  

Menace in the Walls
By N.L. Eskeland

       Memo to guys: Smart is cool. Also, be nice to your sister. Those are two important lessons, refreshingly not delivered with a cafeteria lady’s heavy hand, in N.L. Eskeland’s “Erin Brockovich meets Michael Crichton” thriller for the preteen set, Menace in the Walls, a fictional account of a true and controversial medical horror story from the 1990s.

      While we’re all panicking about the flu, mad cow disease, and so forth, we’d do well to learn from history, especially when it is well and wisely written with a deft touch that proves children’s books aren’t just for kids anymore. Not only that, our future generations are brighter, less video-game-addicted, and more inclined to listen to their parents than the latest pop star (parents really are the anti-drug!). In addition, today’s kids have a powerful sense of right and wrong.

      The “wrong” portrayed in Menace in the Walls is corporate greed and research funding versus the lives of innocent children. Moreover, we would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for those meddling kids!

      The meddling kids in question are the Harry Potter-looking bespectacled Joshua Keegan and his firecracker younger sister Kelley. To Joshua, Kelly is particularly meddlesome. However, investigating children’s deaths from lung hemorrhage linked to the mysterious mold Stachybotrys has a way of bringing siblings together, especially when Joshua and Kelley find their lives in danger.

      After Joshua’s strong, intelligent doctor mother gets him a job at a lab run by her sinister colleague Doctor Channing, Joshua, in the tradition of nosy kids, starts poking in the computer files and braves secondhand smoke to visit one of the bereaved relatives of several children taken mysteriously ill with the same ailment (the revelation that smoking can aggravate the children’s condition is a gentle, subtle message). When Kelley accidentally puts Joshua at risk through sibling rivalry, the two must team up to unravel the case. It is not a “kids versus adults” story either: Joshua’s parents, as well as a kindly researcher named Dr. Tang, prove to be great allies and protectors. In this moral, faith-filled, intelligent page-turner, Eskeland makes science cool again.