Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Theodore Boone: the Fugitive

Theodore Boone: the Fugitive

John Grisham
Fiction  Series
For ages 8 to 12
Penguin, 2015   ISBN: 978-0525426387

Theodore Boone and all his eighth grade classmates are in a fever of excitement. The kids have been fundraising for the eighth grade field trip for months and now, finally, they are off to see the sights in Washington D.C.

The first thing Theodore does when they gets to the big city is to join a group of students who are going to visit Ford’s Theatre. Theodore allows his friend April to convince him that this would be an interesting place to visit, which it is. After their tour of the theatre, the kids and their teacher head back to their hotel, traveling on the Metro subway. Theodore is looking at the faces of the people in his subway car, and thinking that he really would not like to live in a big city, when he sees a familiar face. At first Theodore is not sure who the man is, but then it comes to him. He is looking at Pete Duffy, the man accused of killing his wife back in Strattenburg who skipped out on his bail and who is number seven on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list.

Theodore manages to capture the man on video using his phone and then contacts his Uncle Ike, telling him that he saw Pete Duffy. Ike decides to come up to Washington to see Pete for himself and the next day, in the evening, Ike turns up at Theodore’s hotel. He managed to see Pete Duffy on the Metro too and he even followed the man to an apartment building. The plan is that Ike will follow Pete from his apartment to downtown to see where he goes. He will then use some software called FuzziFace to match the images that they have of Pete with an old picture of him. If the pictures match, they will get in touch with the police.

When Theodore gets back home he and Uncle Ike talk to Theodore’s parents and they decide to get in touch with the FBI directly, just in case there is a mole inside the police department. After all, Pete is a rich man with a lot of friends in high (and low) places. FBI agents interview Theodore and his uncle and then they start looking for Pete. When it becomes clear that he is on the run, they ask Theo to go to Washington D.C. to help them find the fugitive, which he does just as Pete is about to board a plane that is going to Brazil. Theo is the one who recognizes Pete, even though he has dyed his hair blond. What worries Theo is that Pete sees Theodore and that is not a good thing. At all.

Back in Strattenburg, the whole town is excited because Pete Duffy is being brought back to stand trial again. Hopefully this time, now that they have a witness, they will be able to complete the process. The last time Pete was in court the judge had no choice but to declare a mistrial. What worries Theodore is that the witness is an illegal immigrant from San Salvador who is naturally afraid of going to court. It would be easy to intimidate him, and Pete Duffy’s boys are still in town. They would think nothing of scaring the witness off. Theodore wonders if maybe everyone would be better off if he hadn’t seen Pete back in D.C. Maybe he should never have got involved in the whole mess in the first place.

This is the fifth book in the Theodore Boone series and just like the earlier stories, this one takes readers on an exciting adventure into the world of criminals and courts. We see how torn Theodore is about what is the right thing to do, and how much he worries about the vulnerable witness who has so much to lose and so few allies to depend on.