Thursday, January 15, 2015

Blog Tour & Giveaway ~ Missing in Paradise by Larry Verstraete

Missing in Paradise
by Larry Verstraete
Publication date: November 3, 2014
Publisher: Rebelight Publishing Inc.

Four months after Gramp’s mysterious death, Nate helps out at Gram’s garage sale. An eerie feeling, as if Gramps were reaching beyond the grave to send Nate a message, leads Nate to a box full of clues. A missing plane. A secret to keep. A map highlighting the route where Gramps died and the message, “Shipment #35-Gold.” Nate and his best friend, Simon, are convinced that Gramps was on a treasure hunt when he died. They’re just as convinced that Gram’s shifty next door neighbour, Fortier, is after the gold too. Nate and Simon sneak away on a Greyhound bus for the small town of Paradise where Nate is sure treasure awaits. Can they find the gold before Fortier gets his thieving hands on a treasure that rightfully belongs to Gramps?

Larry Verstraete is an award winning author of 13 non-fiction books for young people. This is his first work of fiction.

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The crunch of twigs woke me up.  Framed in the bright moonlight, a dark shadow lumbered past the shelter. I sat up.  My heart hammered against my ribs.  My stomach churned.  I check my glow-in-the-dark watch.  One a.m.

Something snorted – an animal searching for food?  A foul stench arose, along with grunts and heavy thuds along the ground. A bear. It had to be a bear!

Simon rolled over, still asleep.  I couldn’t see the animal, but I heard it thrash closer and closer.  I patted the ground quietly to locate the plastic bag with its enticing peanut butter sandwiches, but couldn’t find it.

Don’t breathe.  Don’t move. Pray it goes away.

Ages later, the heavy footsteps ebbed.  Once more, the forest grew calm.  Again I heard Simon’s soft breathing.  Certain the animal had gone, I relaxed.  I dozed fitfully with an ear on the forest, wary of sounds that signaled the creature’s return.

I slipped into a dream.

I run through blinding light down a rutted road.  When the glare lifts, I follow a narrow trail choked with weeds and roots. I enter a clearing surrounded by thick forest and dotted with wooden buildings built of thick vertical planks.

I am not alone. Dozens of men mill around me. One man leads the group, taller than the others, his stride confident and strong. I can’t see his face clearly, not at first, but I know who he is. There is no mistaking the broad should, the square jaw, the patch of stubborn hair sticking straight up. 

Larry Verstraete, a retired teacher, has authored thirteen non-fiction books for young people and won multiple awards including the 2012 McNally Robinson Book for Young People Award and the 2010 Silver Birch Non-fiction Award. Missing in Paradise is his first work of fiction.

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