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Barracuda (7 Prequels)

Barracuda (7 Prequels)

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Barracuda (7 Prequels)

4/5 (11 valutazioni)
125 pagine
52 minuti
Sep 20, 2016


Fishing for barracuda from a kayak in the Florida Keys. That's what Jim Webb thinks this resort vacation with his grandfather should be about. Except the dying resort owner holds the key to legend about a generations-old crime. A crime that is worth way too much to those who want the legend to be true. Webb soon discovers that what lurks in the sun, sand and shallow waters of the Keys is much more dangerous than a slashing game fish. And along the way, he learns an important truth about himself and his own past.
In this exciting prequel to Devil’s Pass and Tin Soldier, the musically gifted and tenacious Webb finds himself caught in a dangerous mystery.
Sep 20, 2016

Informazioni sull'autore

Sigmund Brouwer has written more than 100 books for readers of all ages including the 2015 Arthur Ellis Award-winning novel Dead Man's Switch (Harvest House). He is the author of the Justine McKeen series and the Howling Timberwolves series in the Orca Echoes line. He visits over 150 schools per year, speaking to over 60,000 students. Sigmund lives in Red Deer, Alberta.

Correlato a Barracuda (7 Prequels)

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Barracuda (7 Prequels) - Sigmund Brouwer



Bad enough, Jim Webb thought, that the bright white Florida sands of his imagination didn’t exist on Little Torch Key. Instead of beach, the water’s edge was lined with stubby mangrove trees, thick and shrubby, that made wading through the warm water impossible. Meant he had to walk pavement, dusted with sand. To make the start of his vacation worse, though, was what waited when he finished this walk—a deathbed visit with an old man he’d never met before.

Webb was only hours off an airplane from Toronto. It was his first day of a spring vacation in the Florida Keys. The day before, he’d faced the sloppy, stained snow of crowded downtown sidewalks. Now he felt the freedom of a gentle breeze, a deep blue sky, the heat of the sun and the slap of his running shoes on pavement. He would have preferred the rhythmic lapping of waves and sand against bare toes. One thing would have been the same whether on the beach or on the road he walked. Seagulls. They squawked in circles above him, drawn by the bag of chips in his left hand.

This wasn’t even close to the vacation Webb had expected. A month earlier his grandfather, David Maclean—who didn’t ask it of all his grandsons but for some reason had asked Webb to call him David—had promised to take Webb on a road trip, just the two of them, as a thirteenth-birthday present.

After a month of anticipation, the trip began with a 5:00 AM goodbye to his mother on the doorstep and a taxi ride to the airport. Then the long wait at Toronto Pearson International to get through US Customs and Border Protection. Finally the time came to take off in a Boeing 767, with his grandfather beside him, telling a few war stories about when he’d flown planes small enough to land on the jet’s wingspan. Their flight had landed before noon in Miami, where David had rented a Mustang convertible.

Yes. Mustang. Yes. Convertible. Yes. Cool.

Webb had ridden shotgun for a couple hours as they traveled, top down, along US Route 1 through the Florida Keys. David had explained it was called the Overseas Highway.

David had given Webb a pair of sunglasses for his birthday. They were black-lensed Oakleys, top of the line. Wearing Oakleys and riding shotgun in a convertible was much better than bumping along on an ancient streetcar in Toronto, squished between commuters with body odor.

Bridge after narrow bridge connected the small Key islands. Webb had counted down the mile markers, knowing their destination was Little Torch Key, at mile marker 28. The trip had taken them nearly a hundred miles south and west of the tip of the Florida mainland.

Still cool.

They had arrived midafternoon. They had checked in to a two-bedroom cottage at Gulfview Marina and Cottages. The view from Webb’s bedroom window was grass and palm trees and shallow blue-green water beyond. David had said an old friend, Jonathan Greene, owned the resort. They were staying for free, and they’d have access to the rental fishing boats at any time. They’d even have a guide to help them land the monsters like marlin and swordfish and sailfish out in the depths of the Gulf Stream.

Better than cool. Or, as his grandfather had said, rocking cool. Really, rocking cool. Who else in the world ever used that phrase?

Then, as they’d unpacked their suitcases beneath the ticking of the ceiling fan in the cottage living room, David had told Webb that Jonathan Greene was in the last stages of cancer. His old friend wanted them to visit before the end of the afternoon, and David said he was glad he’d have a chance to spend time with Jonathan in the final days before the man died. And that he was glad Webb was with him during this difficult time.

Not so cool. Definitely not rocking cool.

Webb had retreated into quiet anger. He should have been told ahead of time. He should have been given a choice. Had he known David was going to force him to spend time with someone about to die, he would not have agreed to leave Toronto.

Webb usually preferred to be alone. Like now, walking on a narrow road lined with small waterfront vacation homes. When he reached the stop sign ahead at the highway, Webb would have to turn around to go make conversation with a stranger talking around oxygen tubes. Maybe there wouldn’t be tubes in the guy’s nose, but that’s how Webb pictured the scene. Oxygen tank and horrible, wet coughs.

That was what Webb remembered of his nightmarish hospital visits to his own dad when he was six. He was too young then to really understand that his dad’s cancer was an unbeatable enemy. He figured that out, though, a few months later, when he found himself in a cemetery, saying goodbye to a coffin, on an ironically beautiful fall afternoon among drifting leaves.

Trying to make idle conversation with a stranger was a torture for Webb at any time. Not much of a way to mark his birthday.

Thinking about visiting an old man on his deathbed sucked all the joy out of time in the sun. Head down, he walked in his tunnel of anger. He was on a stupid paved road. When instead he’d dreamed of sand and sun-broiled tourists, from big-bellied, balding men holding cans of beer to kids with collapsing sand castles to clusters of older teenage girls in bikinis.

That’s when he heard the opening riffs of guitar that shifted his focus like he was a shark scenting blood. No, not a shark. Something else.

A barracuda.



Webb recognized the song instantly. He’d learned the chords about a year earlier, a fast-tempo crescendo that rose to a wicked slide of the electric guitar.

He saw ahead a restaurant called Mickey’s Sandbar. As he reached it, he saw that the sound came from a small bandstand alongside an empty patio outside the restaurant. The bandstand was shaded by an awning. Webb could see a lone figure on the bandstand, holding a microphone. It was too early for a real gig, Webb thought. Soundcheck maybe?

Either way, he loved hearing the song. He knew the intro riff was long. He waited for the opening words. When the words came, Webb silently sang along. He grinned at the chorus as the female singer up on the bandstand belted out the lyrics.

You gonna burn, burn, burn, burn, burn it to the wick. Oooh, barracuda…

At a distance, the singer was a dark outline to Webb. The music drew him closer. A couple of months earlier, he’d given up guitar. But he could still appreciate what he was hearing. She had a great voice, and those guitar riffs were classic.

It didn’t take him long to reach the bandstand. He stood in the sun, still seeing the singer as a silhouette beneath the awning. The stage was set up with speakers, microphones and the snaking wires that connected it all. But she was alone. No guitar in sight. So Webb assumed it was practice for a gig later. And she was singing to a soundtrack.

If the real thing don’t do the trick, you better make up something quick…

Without warning, she stopped.

Hey, she said from the microphone. What’s your name?

That’s when Webb realized he was an audience of one. And he felt foolish. But she’d asked a direct question, so he felt he had no choice but to answer.

Webb, he said. Jim Webb.

At the hospital, about a week before the end,

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  • (4/5)
    So when I requested this book on Library Thing, I did not realize it was for ages 9-12, but by the second page this became clear. That being said this was a fun book, reminding me of summer days as a kid plowing through the Hardy Boys series. The story is well told, without any glaring spelling or punctuation errors so rare in books today.Jim Web, is celebrating his 13th birthday with his grandfather and they are doing it in the Florida Keys because his grandfather is visiting a dying friend who owns a resort there. The dying man has a secret he needs to get off his conscience, and tied to it is a possible hidden treasure. There are others who know about the dying mans past and are causing him all kinds of trouble. Jim and his grandfather need to solve the mystery of who else knows and find the treasure.In the end, the story seemed more Scooby Do and less Hardy Boys. When the bad guy was caught I was waiting for him to say he would have gotten away with it if it hadn't been for "those meddling kids" but all in all it is a fun mystery for kids.
  • (4/5)
    This is a perfect book for the age group of 9-12 year olds. Boys love adventure books and this is certainly packed with excitement. Well written and comparable to other authors who write for this age group like Anthony Horowitz. I hope they will buy and read this...if you can get them away from all the Minecraft fiction!
  • (5/5)
    Well-written coming-of-age story, a very good rendering of a thirteen year old boy, Jim Webb. He goes by the name of Webb and he is not happy to be spending his summer with his grandfather in the Florida Keys, more precisely Little Torch Key, especially since some of that time is to be spent visiting a dying friend of his grandfather. Webb is completely disgruntled...until he meets a young girl, one who is not only interesting but in a band. Webb was given his Dad's guitar when he died, his only comfort until now, and she invites him into the band. There is a lot going on in this book, some sweet, some sour, but there are lessons to be learned here, if he will take the time to learn them and understand. I would say Sigmund Brouwer has a great appreciation for life at Webb's age, as well as his family circumstances. This book really held my attention, it was sad, humorous, unusual, and adventurous. I really enjoyed it for all its oddities of life.
  • (2/5)
    I received this as an ARC through librarything from the publisher, Orca Book Publishers, in exchange for an honest review.

    At first, I was really bummed, after receiving this book. The ARC giveaways aren't labeled the best, so I didn't know it was for young kids (suggested age 9 ). The brief description made me think otherwise. That aside, it was a good story, but a little far-fetched for my taste (even as a kid).

    This felt a little like an adult book that had been shortened and dumbed down for kids. Some of the conversations that Webb and his grandfather had, though apropos for someone in their early to mid teens would, I think, go over the heads of your average 9 year old. They don't know who Carl Jung is, nor do I see them caring about or knowing the difference between introverts and extroverts. Grant it, Brouwer does a great job in explaining in in terms they'd understand. I highly doubt that most 9 year old boys would really care about crushing on a girl for the first time and how complicated that feels, but that's just me. I specify that audience, because that IS who it feels like this book was written for. The story is, otherwise, written too simply for early teen readers.

    Now, some of the other topics, like bottling up feelings and not having a good relationship with step parents are great. It'd show kids who are in similar situations that they're not alone and there are people out there just like them, even if (to them) they're only characters in a story.

    One thing that I was really impressed with was the imagery that Brouwer forced on his readers of the Barracuda, which was a theme through out the story, whether the reader realized it initially or not, despite the title. I think the best part was his description of the fish at the end to really tie everything together. In my opinion, this is a great book for a teacher to use to introduce kids to the idea of imagery and metaphors in writing, especially since it spells out EXACTLY the reasoning behind everything.
  • (4/5)
    Imagine my surprise when I realized I’d agreed to review a book written for middle-schoolers! I had read another book by Sigmund Brouwer years ago and remembered enjoying it very much, so I requested this one. So, I committed myself to doing the book justice by reading it and reviewing it. Imagine my bigger surprise to find that I truly enjoyed it! Along the way, I discovered that BARRACUDA is a prequel to a book that Brouwer wrote as part of a seven-book series, called “The Seven Series”. It is subtitled, “7 Grandsons, 7 Journeys, 7 Authors, 1 Amazing Series”. There is also, “The Seven Sequels”. What a wonderful idea! At any rate, BARRACUDA stands alone and tells the tale of Jim Webb, “Webb,” who goes to the Florida Keys to spend his holiday with his grandfather, David. Webb feels manipulated when he learns that his grandfather expects him to accompany him to visit a dying friend, Jonathan. As any savvy 13-year-old in Webb’s situation would figure out, David is hoping that by sitting by his dying friend, Webb will open up about his own father’s death, years past, and something he has never talked about. Of course, Webb has no intention of cooperating with his grandfather’s plan. What happens is that Webb and his grandfather get swept up in a mystery when Jonathan reveals that people close to him are after his wealth, in the form of diamonds, and asks Webb and David to help him by bringing him his stash of diamonds. The plan is that once they have retrieved the first batch from its hiding place, Jonathan will reveal the next hiding place. Unfortunately, not only is the first box empty, but Jonathan dies before he is able to tell them where the rest are to be found. Webb finds that he is being wooed by a pretty 15-year-old in the neighborhood, but there is something fishy about her persistence and about her creepy, smoking boyfriend. And then there’s the fishing charter boat that he and his grandfather were supposed to be on that capsizes out in the Gulf Stream. Along the way, we get a great story with significant things to say about death and dying, that death is not something to be feared, even by a youngster. Webb expects to find Jonathan something repulsive but learns that he is wrong and finds a way to face the death of his own father and be healed. He is changed by his experience with his grandfather and is reconciled with his father and himself. Plus, he gets to hunt for diamonds, and who doesn’t love that?
  • (5/5)
    This was a great "coming of age" book. The main character is a 13 year old boy dealing with anger over the death of his father and a new step-father. He spends time with a loving grandfather who is gentle and easy to talk to. Also part of the story is adventure, murder, and the search for a bag of stolen diamonds.