Gr 4-8 Thirteen-year-old Larry enters an empty home to find a phone after his motorcycle becomes disabled. He finds himself in the midst of mystery after the strangely deserted house burns. The culprit is revealed to be a neighborhood handyman who was hiding his grandson, an escaped convict. Bland, underdeveloped characters and equally bland and boring pencil illustrations do nothing to make this plodding story more exciting. Subplots, such as Larry's learning disability which has caused his failing English grade, dilute the narrative still further. Although the age of the main characters paired with the low reading level place this firmly in the hi/lo category, no one will care who burned the Hartley house. Readers deserve better than this. Ellen Fader, Westport Public Library, Conn.