||December 2, 2011
Barnes & Nobel
Lost in the Bayou
A young adult thriller with a high level of suspense. A fast-paced page-turner.
It's the summer of 1963 in Louisiana.
Robin Sherwood's parents have disappeared. Her crazy uncle with the claw hand has arrived as her new guardian. But he other plans for her. Plans involving murder and the transfer of a great fortune from its rightful owners to himself.
It's risky, but the bayou may be her only escape. Becoming alligator bait seems a lot less terrifying than having to face what's waiting for her in the cellar. Unless she ends up in the Voodoo Swamp.
In Louisiana, summer wraps around you like molasses. Thick and sticky. July is hot and humid. Always. August is worse. And the summer of 1963 has been a record breaker so far.
This morning, the sky is cloudless. Itís muggy, and thereís no hint of a breeze to blow away the pestering flies or the lingering stench of whatever crawled under the porch and died a few days ago.
The rhythmic buzz of locusts fills the air, but it stops suddenly as a deep rumble comes up the road. My heart races as the sound rolls across the terrace and toward the covered veranda where weíre waiting.
Thereís an uncertain look in Andyís eyes when he glances up at me, and his voice is thin as water when he speaks. ďHeís coming.Ē
Andy stares down the long driveway toward the entrance, waiting and watching. The sound is getting louder. And closer. The locusts have gotten used to it and started buzzing again, their cadence in time with the seconds ticking by. Andy and I stand side by side at the porch railing, waiting to face whatever the future has in store for us.
A white sports car comes into view with a cloud of gravel dust following closely behind it. The morning sun reflects off the polished chrome in a brilliant silver flash. The car continues up the long driveway until it reaches the circle. It makes a slow turn around the big fountain in the center before coming to a stop.
The car is a convertible, but the top is up and the windows are tinted a dark gray. Obviously, thereís a driver inside, but thereís no one visible through the dark glass. The rumbling sound of the exhaust stops, and everything becomes quiet. Even the locusts seem to be holding their tongues. Or whatever they use to make that irritating sound. We wait for the driver to emerge, but nothing happens for what seems like a very long time. Finally, the car door opens slowly, and a tall man wearing sunglasses and a serous expression steps out.
Andy leans toward me. ďIs that him?Ē he whispers.
ďI guess so,Ē I whisper back. But Iím not sure. I donít recognize the face. Heís supposed to be Dadís brother, but he looks nothing like Dad. There isnít anything familiar about him, and nothing sparks a memory.
Of course, itís been twelve years since Iíve seen our Uncle Conrad. I was only two years old the last time he was here, and my memory of that day is a bit fuzzy at best. Andy wasnít even born yet. The only thing I remember about him is a faint image of a green army jacket with polished brass buttons on it. But that could be something I recall from a photo of him. The uncertainty about who this man really is, and whatís going to happen next, makes me uneasy and more than a little nervous.
As we watch, he turns his back on us and removes a couple of bags from inside the car. Heís heading toward the veranda now and getting closer with each step. Suddenly, I donít want him here. He doesnít belong here. Why canít he just get back in his fancy sports car and drive away?
But itís too late for that. The court decided that Andy and I need someone to watch over us. Someone to keep us safe the way Mom and Dad did when they were here. Iím so confused I donít know what I should be feeling. I just want Mom and Dad to come home. I force a smile as he walks toward us.
Heís almost to the porch now. As he gets nearer, my smile starts to fade when something confuses me. The sun is reflecting from a strange object at the end of Uncle Conradís arm. It looks like metal. Large. Silver. Shiny, like the chrome on his car. What is that thing? As he gets closer, a flurry of horror rushes through me as I realize what it is.
Oh, God! Itís a claw.
Lost in the Bayou
Cornell Devill has written an amazing YA Suspense/Thriller novel, his writing is engaging and the character descriptions where written so well that I could picture what the crazy Uncle Conrad looked like vividly in my head. Cornell's words flowed easily and I just kept turning the pages and before I knew it the book was over. You can see from his writing that he is a very talented author and I would read any of his other books.
Lost in the Bayou is a story of brother and sister who find out their parents are missing after their plane crashed. The search and rescue for their parents has been called off and now are presumed dead. The only living relative is their Uncle Conrad, during their first dinner together they realize that their uncle is crazy and is only there for their parent's money. He seems to relate everything he says and does to the radio show the Lone Ranger. Uncle Conrad tells the children that he is only there to get what he rightfully deserves and that they are in his way. His plan is to kill the children so he will have everything to himself. He informs them that in the morning they will play a game and that if he catches them he will kill them. Coming up with an escape plan is there next step. They decide the best place to hide is deep inside the Bayou where dangers lurk all around them, but they both agree they will feel safer around the alligators then their crazy uncle.
Lost in the Bayou is written for a younger audience, the main character Robin is a 14 year girl trying to protect and take care of her 11 year old brother Andy. Cornell Devill has written both of these children in an age appropriate manner and his younger audience will connect with these two characters well. In saying that I believe even adults who read YA suspense/thriller novels would definitely enjoy Lost in the Bayou and I would definitely recommend this book to any of my friends.
Glad I found Lost in the Bayou
Cornell DeVille is not exactly a household name, but if this talented author continues to turn out books like this one, he soon will be. I stumbled across his work on an authors website that I frequent, and was intrigued by its title and description. I downloaded a free sample and was immediately captivated by the opening scene (which, unfortunately, was also the extent of the "free" part). "Oh, what the heck?" I thought, "For $3.99 how can I go wrong?" So, I purchased it. Big mistake!
Now it's two-thirty in the AM, and I've just finished reading what is technically a YA mystery, but qualifies, in my opinion, as a book suited for all age groups - it's that good!
Lost In The Bayou (don't you just love the title?) tells the tale of two young children, trapped in a battle with a crazed uncle who is intent upon acquiring their father's estate at any cost, even if means killing his niece and nephew to accomplish his goal. Along the way we are treated to scenarios painted with a brush that is virtually dripping with descriptive adjectives of every color and hue. Set in the Sixties, Lost In The Bayou is replete with vivid images of that historic era, including references to hit songs and automobiles popular at the time. Then, there's the antagonist's obsession with The Lone Ranger, a theme that runs throughout the book, serving as a metaphor for the battle between good and evil. The characters are as varied and three dimensional as any of those created by the likes of Twain, and just as endearing. I especially enjoyed meeting Mrs. Deffenbaugh, the housekeeper.
Lost In The Bayou is a story that will definitely suck you in - much like the quicksand that surrounds the big cypress tree - but to find out how it's done, you'll just have to buy the book and read it! Great job, Mr. DeVille. Keep 'em coming!
Just the right amount of scary.
Cornell Deville is an expert at making the mundane terrifying. Uncle Conrad lost a hand in Korea, which would normally inspire compassion, but the way he uses his metal prosthesis--to threaten children with--is scary. Deville does that with other things, too...blueberries, for instance, and the Lone Ranger. He is also an expert at evoking mood in every scene. His heroine, Robin, is a completely believable 14-year-old girl, especially when it comes to her relationship with her younger brother. Most importantly, the book is just the right amount of scary for middle grade teen readers--it doesn't baby them by softpedalling the danger, but it stops short of traumatizing them.
I highly recommend Lost in the Bayou.
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