Winter Reading – Book Review #1: The Cold Case Kids by Doug Archer

What better thing to do on a cold winter day than to curl up with a good book, and Bruce County is fortunate to have several local authors whose works make that a time to look forward to.  So, as we head into winter, we decided to take a look at some of the books available.

In this first review, we thought that young readers should be encouraged to pick up a book and become lost in the world of imagination, or listen as a parent or grandparent reads aloud.

Local author Doug Archer has created the exciting Cold Case Kids series where his three young sleuths, Brogan, Brycen and Heather with their zombie friend, Angus, are always getting into mysterious adventures.

Tales of buried treasure, time travel, zombies and shipwrecks take the Cold Case Kids into the realm of mystery and, sometimes, the supernatural.

His first book, ‘Ghoul’s Gold – the Mystery of the Chantry Island Treasure’, starts the series at Chantry Island where there is rumour of buried treasure.

It all began when Archer’s then 11-year-old son asked if there had ever been any pirates on the Great Lakes, Archer thought about the concept and that Chantry Island would, in fact, be a great pirate hideout … and the idea of ‘Ghoul’s Gold’ was born.

In the first book, Archer’s three young sleuths, Brogan, Brycen and Heather, begin their adventure through strange happenings surrounding Chantry Island’s Imperial Lighthouse off the shore of Southampton and the rumoured buried treasure. A hidden diary, haunted lighthouse and zombies lead them ever deeper into adventure.

In the second of the series, ‘Legend of the Phantom Reaper: the Mystery of the Southampton Shipwrecks’, the kids and their zombie friend are at it again as they are taken a century back in time through an underwater portal.  There they find a world of shipwrecks, supernatural stories, and mysterious messages.  Can they solve the mystery before another ship is sent to a watery grave?

Now, with his recently released third book in the series, ‘Dead Man’s Tale: The Mystery of the Lost Riches of Chantry Island’, the Cold Case Kids are lead into an adventure of sinister masks, haunted house and puzzling happenings.

“The Cold Case Kids – Brogan, Brycen, and Heather and their zombie friend Angus, are looking forward to another summer of hanging out at the beach. Until they discover a wooden chest tossed up onto the shores of mysterious Chantry Island … and make the mistake of opening it. What comes out plunges the kids into a mystery filled with sinister masks, walking skeletons, and a tale from beyond the grave. A tale filled with cryptic clues that point the way to hidden riches. But something evil watches over the riches and it will stop at nothing to keep them hidden. Solving this mystery could spell the end for the Cold Case Kids … BUT THE DEAD MAN’S TALE MUST BE TOLD!

On Thursday, December 16th, Archer read a chapter from ‘Dead Man’s Tale’ at the Bruce County Museum and Cultural Centre.  Although his adventure series are for kids eight and up, the adults in the audience were also hanging on every word.  These are adventures for not only the young but the young-at-heart.  “You’re never too old for adventure,” said Archer.

As with other local authors, Archer said he researched the historical incidents that take place in his books at the Bruce County Museum & Cultural Centre’s Archives.  “The archive is a wealth of knowledge,” he says.  Archer, a retired accountant from Bruce Power, explains that his writing process includes an in-depth storyboard and writing three or four hours a day every day and includes illustrations by Rob Elliott.

Archer said that it was the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew stories that inspired him as a young reader growing up. “I always loved the idea of kids solving mysteries.”

With Christmas just around the corner, whether a trilogy package or singly, The Cold Case Kids books would be a perfect gift for the young reader.

The books are available at: Bruce County Museum & Cultural Centre; ‘A Little of This and That’ in Southampton; Finchers Books in Kincardine; Turtle Crossing in Port Elgin; Chapters.Indigo on-line