A good mystery full of its many sharp turns, close scrapes, and heart-thumpings.
Bryce and Ashley Timberline's stepdad has been called back by the counter-terrorist group he was once part of (from book #2, "Stolen Secrets"). While he's gone, Ashley's trying to figure out who her secret admirer is and Bryce is suspicious about a van he has been seeing everywhere.
Bryce feels terrible about having copied most of a personal letter for a story he wrote for a contest; he confesses this to a teacher, his sister, and the judges. He takes on a responsibility to return wallets stolen long ago from a dozen soldiers. He remembers a rule set up by his mom about accepting rides from people and abides by it.
Ashley does her best not to offend others. She also tries to understand her older stepsister, Leigh, by talking with Leigh's boyfriend. Sam, their stepdad, keeps a sharp eye out for his family and Mrs. Timberline pulls out all the stops to follow his directions and protect her loved ones.
Bryce, Ashley, and their mom are Christians. Mrs. Timberline has ideas for starting a girls' Bible study group. One of Ashley's friends brings up the topic of God again. Leigh pushes harder against God, blowing up every time she feels a conversation is heading in that direction. Leigh's boyfriend, Randy, is a Christian as well and he explains that Leigh had basically told him to choose between her and Jesus. The twins and Randy continue to pray for Leigh and Sam's salvation. Someone quotes a Scripture verse.
This is by far the most violent of the series. Readers get little snippets of secret meetings where future killings are discussed. Bryce is chased a couple times by people of whom he is suspicious. He watches a bomb rig get set up. He and a man are threatened, bound, and held at gunpoint; the man cuts himself a couple times when trying to free himself. A man is wounded. A dog and a man are found dead (one is seen). There is a little gunfire and an explosion. The quoted Scripture verse has a meaning that the quoter means to "fulfill".
Drug and Alcohol Content
Nothing to worry about. Bryce briefly considers asking the prettiest girl in school to the eighth-grade dance; another girl is sweet on him. Ashley has a secret admirer, not counting a boy she dislikes; she likes another boy who invited another girl to the dance. She makes reference to a "love circle".
Crude or Profane Language or Content
Tension and action are high is this story, especially at the end. There's a sense of urgency and a need for speed, making it fast-paced but not detrimentally so. The ending is somewhat bittersweet, though there's a higher concentration of the bitter. Bryce and Ashley start a new chapter of their lives where readers will not be able to follow as, sadly, "Dead End" is the final installment of the Red Rock Mysteries.