||July 23, 2004
Book 2 in the Kim & Kelly Mystery Series. A school camping trip turns into terror as campers disappear, a phantom is seen lurking around, and 20 dollar bills are discovered. Kim is determined to get to the bottom of it all, and save her best friend in the process!
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Kelly reluctantly follows Kim on a camping trip into the mountains that line their small Colorado town of Creston. Eerie lights have been sighted there late at night and reports of people disappearing, along with rumors of a phantom lurking about, have police baffled. Kelly is completely intimidated but Kim is skeptical, "It's all just a bunch of talk to keep kids out of the woods," She says. However, she quickly changes her mind as, one by one, girls from their group begin to disappear. When Kelly falls prey, Kim gets on the case. She meets with Detective Eddie Bancroft, who has been on the trail of counterfeiters for months, his investigations bringing him to the very same forest. Kim and Eddie team up to not only find their missing comrade, but to see if maybe there is more to their respective cases than meets the eye.
“Shhhh,” Kelly said quickly, holding up the palm of her hand to stifle me.
“What’s wrong?” I whispered, sitting up and straining my ears.
“Footsteps. Listen,” she whispered back.
We sat very still, barely breathing, and listened for footsteps to overtake all the other woodland sounds.
“There it is again,” Kelly whispered in a hoarse, high-pitched squeal.
“I hear it. Come on, let’s check it out.” I pulled on my shoes, grabbed the tiny glow lamp, and crawled to the opening of our tent.
“Are you crazy?” Kelly squealed while trying to follow me.
I was halfway finished unzipping the tent entrance when I felt her practically up on my back. I stopped and looked over my shoulder at her.
“If you’re soooo afraid, why are you following me?” I asked softly.
“They might need someone to identify your body after the Phantom gets done with you,” She whispered back in a very snippy tone. I just rolled my eyes and unzipped the tent the rest of the way.
“There’s - no - Phantom, okay,” I said pronouncing each word individually, while sticking my head out of the opening and looking around.
The full moon shone brightly casting eerie shadows all around our camp. I strained my eyes in the darkness, trying to see movement in the trees. I didn’t notice any, but the crunching of leaves signaled footsteps and footsteps meant someone was walking close by.
“Yes there is a Phantom,” Kelly said, poking her head out of the tent opening just under me. “He’s stalking our camp, waiting for his next victim.”
"TJ Perkins has once again created an adventure filled with mystery and suspense, which once you start can not put down until the last page"-Rick Mohr, Syndicated Book Reviewer-Midwest Book Review
Brand New Old Fashion Mystery
Reviewer, Round Table Reviews
Being a short book written for young people, THE SECRET IN PHANTOM FOREST is one of several in a series with the subject matter and story line geared to girls’ ages 10 to 13. Young girls will easily identify with the character’s prattle and animated expressions. A few of the very real fears and concerns are entertained in a very light manner. I found it reasonably entertaining albeit it was a book for the young mistress of the family.
Excellent New Mysteries
In Phantom in the Forest, the girls go to a campsite that is organized by their school for a week. There are 3 counselors but one of them, Ms. Scott, breaks her leg and the other counselor, Mr. Smith and some of the girls from the camp, go to town to get help.
There are rumors of a phantom, a witch near an old well and disappearing hikers and campers. One of the girls does disappear and footprints are found outside her tent. After the two counselors leave, the rest of the girls band together to keep watch during the night. After awhile, Kim suspects the remaining counselor, Mr. Thomas, of having something to do with the strange happenings. They investigate the old well and find an old shanty nearby. Strange lights are seen at night and sounds like machinery are heard near the well. The girls also find several $20 bills that look new.
Also two very unkempt hunters are seen from time to time although hunting is not allowed. Eddie Bancroft, the detective, helps Kim when she falls on slippery grass and reveals himself as the suspected phantom. He and other detectives are on a stake-out and they have traced a gang of countfeiters to this locality. In the meantime, Kelly has disappeared and Kim is quite worried about her friend.
The ending is another exciting, fast-paced conclusion to the mystery. Kim and Kelly work together so smoothly and well in foiling the crooks. However, this is not the conclusion. When you think that the story is concluding, more action takes place. It is a real page-turner.
I enjoyed these books so much. I love a good mystery and these two books certainly fill the bill.
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