Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Escape from Shadow Island

Escape from Shadow Island

Paul Adam
Fiction  Series
For ages 12 and up
Random House UK, 2011   ISBN: 978-0552563031

Max Cassidy is the son of a great escapologist, and like his father, he has the ability to confound audiences with his extraordinary ability to free himself from chains, handcuffs, and other devices. Two years ago, Max’s mother, father, and his father’s assistant, Consuela, went to the island of Santo Domingo to perform at a very exclusive resort. During their stay, Max’s father disappeared, and soon after his mother was arrested for murdering her husband. Though the evidence against her was circumstantial at best, the island authorities imprisoned her. Now she is in a prison in England, and though the conditions she has to endure are a lot better than the ones she experienced in Santo Domingo, she is still suffering terribly.

One night after one of Max’s shows, a man comes to visit Max in his dressing room. He says that his name is Luis Lopez-Vega and that he met Max’s father in Santo Domingo. Luis says that Max’s mother was unjustly accused of a murder that she did not commit. Apparently judges can be “bought like coconuts in the marketplace” in Santo Domingo. Luis is about to tell Max something about his father when Consuela interrupts them. Eager not to be seen, Luis tells Max that his father is not dead, and he asks the boy to come to his hotel that night so that he can tell Max more. When Max gets to the hotel, he finds out that Luis has been shot dead. Max does not find anything in the dead man’s room that might shed some light on what is going on, except a piece of paper that has a series of numbers written on it.

Determined to find out what is happening with his mother’s court appeal, and eager to see if he can find out what really happened to his father, Max decides that he is going to go to Santo Domingo. Reluctantly Consuela agrees to allow this, and she goes with him. They are not on the island for long before it becomes clear that someone does not want Max sniffing around. Consuela disappears into thin air, and Max realizes that his father must have stumbled upon a very dangerous secret. If he is not careful, he is going to disappear just like his father did.

In this first Max Cassidy novel, readers are taken on a thrilling adventure. Some questions are answered as the story unfolds, but others are not. It is going to be interesting to see where Max ends up next, and if he will be able to find the evidence he needs to free his mother.

This is series is a must for readers who enjoy thrillers and adventure stories.