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Children's LiteratureIn this sequel to his first book, Moonshiner's Gold, Erickson brings back 14-year-old Riley McDaniels with a new adventure on his family's West Texas ranch. In this story, Riley and his younger brother, Coy, are drawn into adventure by their mother's friend, Aaron Kaplan and Dr. Montrose, an archeologist who thinks that there might be something of interest to him and fellow archeologists on the Riley ranch. When Riley uncovers what seems to be the foundation of a Woodlands era building, everyone is excited. But when a bunch of site robbers show up and threaten both Riley and the dig, Riley knows that he must take action. Enlisting the aid of Aaron, Coy, and Mrs. McDaniels, Riley defeats the bad guys, allowing Dr. Montrose to return and begin the dig. The archeological pieces of this story resonate well and the story generally moves at a nice pace. There are too many coincidences throughout this book, especially in connection with Vernon and his unsavory gang. But for a male reader looking for a quick read, this book will work. 2004, Viking, Ages 10 to 14.
—Jean Boreen, Ph.D.