Fun mystery, great values, and even a punchline to wrap it all up.
Note: Co-authored by Jerry B. Jenkins and Chris Fabry.
Bryce and Ashley Timberline make a trip to their old Illinois hometown. Ashley stars with her best friend Carolyn in a commercial and Bryce heads to the baseball stadium to watch his favorite team play. But during this time filled with fun and memories, the twins have to wonder where a certain man is before and on his wedding day and why he’s disappeared.
The Timberline twins are helpful and flexible. They are just as worried as the Hamiltons (Carolyn’s family) about the missing groom. As amateur detectives, they do things most kids likely shouldn’t: sneaking into cars and through people’s stuff, following people, and setting up decoys (these actions are justified by the reader as they unravel the truth and the twins are never in any real danger). They are scolded for exploring without permission once and not informing their mom of new travel plans.
Bryce sees a group of teens sneaking into an R-rated movie without paying. Bryce follows after having at least paid for another movie, though not for the sake of the movie or the thrill of sneaking in; he leaves shortly thereafter. The same teens go into another theater, causing a disturbance and disrespecting an elderly gentleman. They also talk of something they plan to “do” on a given night (these plans are later witnessed). These actions are portrayed as wrong and dealt with.
Carolyn’s brother, Tim, portrays his wayward lifestyle via his group of buddies (and subsequent actions), his appearance, and posters in his room of people that look “more like zombies than musicians”. These are also frowned upon.
Mr. Hamilton is rightly displeased when he finds that his wife didn’t confide a matter with him.
One character does something illegal and is properly punished.
Bryce and Ashley are firm Christians. The Hamiltons are either nominal or backslidden Christians. Ashley tries to help her friend Carolyn understand more of what real Christianity is. Carolyn’s brother, Tim, has gone astray and Bryce remembers when Tim used to be “into Christian bands”. The missing groom is a deacon and the twins go to his church to try to gather more clues. A couple characters are advised to put their trust in God and let Him sort out their lives. One goes to counseling.
A boating accident and the one fatality it produced are mentioned. Some teens chase Bryce around the city. Gasoline is poured on someone’s property in preparation of a match-drop. One character is likely to try anything to regain a couple items swiped from him.
Drug and Alcohol Content
At the ball game, a man consumes beer (therefore also disorienting his thoughts, words, and actions) and accidentally soaks Bryce with what is in his can. Bryce sees someone pull some bottles from their hiding place and he suspects (correctly) that they contain alcohol. One character admits that he got into drinking and gambling. These are treated as wrong.
Crude or Profane Language or Content
At one point, Bryce thinks of a bad word (we don’t know what it is) and he wonders if thinking it is as bad as saying it.
This is an interesting mystery and just about anyone can be a suspect. At the same time, Bryce and Ashley are normal kids: they have their dreams, their desires, their fond memories, and their interesting communications with adults. Spiritual matters are addressed unashamedly. Though the case they work on is serious, they have their chances for laughter and fun.