~Written by M.M. Wheezee
Since his mom died a few years ago, Harold Stryker has been following her instructions:
He lives all alone, in secret, in his house outside Los Angeles.
He avoids, as best as he can, other kids, and certainly grown-ups.
He keeps only his huge, gassy dog and his collection of power tools for company.
But he's okay with all that. Until the big night of the little earthquake. And his plunge into a dangerous forgotten tunnel beneath his dining room floor. And his encounter with the sweet, terrifying girl baseball star named Tien Tang and the compulsive, camo-suited, overweight force of nature known officially as Bella but universally as Blunt. They push and pull him through an underground adventure with a bullying science teacher, a tasteless chef, a greedy criminal, hairy tarantulas (live), sabertooth cats (long dead), smelly mushrooms, old trolley cars, new subways, and a baker's dozen of illegal Asian immigrants who need to be rescued from a life of slavery in a California ghost town. Harold Stryker is okay with all that too. But those two girls are now his friends. And that has him shaking.
Stryker is a middle-grade novel, for ages 9 and up. (Amazon)
Stryker is a face-paced adventure of three unlikely friends who prove that when we put our differences aside great things are possible.
When an earthquake rocks his southern California town, Harold "Stryker" finds himself deep in a cellar he didn't know his home had. As he begins to explore the mysterious underground world he discovers a series of tunnels and train tracks and he learns he's not alone. Tien Tang (TNT), who also lives in the same town, has uncovered a tunnel of her own and her encounter with Stryker is inevitable. Bella Lunt, otherwise known as Blunt, enters the picture when she witnesses and assists Stryker and TNT when they flee from the tunnel and the goons that are chasing them. With curiosity on their side, the three forge a fast and sometimes challenging friendship and begin exploring the vast tunnels that run under their town. What they unearth is a wild and riveting adventure that will leave readers yearning for more.
Stryker is a highly organized and well-written story that easily engrosses readers. For those familiar with Southern California it's fun to read mention of the Hollywood sign, Griffith Observatory, and various other landmarks. I also found it impressive that Harold Stryker, a shy quiet boy, rises to the occasion and leads the group through challenging decisions. Bella Lunt is a great character as well, although at times I'd like to cover her mouth to keep her from getting in trouble.She brings comic relief during moments of stress and her plots for revenge are hilarious. Tien Tang adds common sense, organization, and balance to the group. All in all they are a set of characters that mesh well with one another making Stryker and enjoyable read.
I highly recommend picking up a copy of Stryker. Available on Amazon.