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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Metal: A Treasure Hunt is a contemporary fiction novel written by Java Davis. The underlying story, however, has historical roots that date back to the 1700s. Shaker Falls Park was located on land that had been in dispute since colonial times, and the land figured in the struggle between the French and English, who both courted Native American tribes in their attempt to control the area. For homesteaders, living off their land was strictly a necessity as monetary systems had not yet been regularized, and banks were not even in existence. Anyone who possessed coins, including the trappers, farmers, soldiers and Indians, risked robbers and governmental authorities seizing that wealth, and so many hid their wealth in caves, or buried it underground. During and after the Depression, people who were terrified by the failures of the banks followed suit, storing their money away in the walls of their houses or burying it in their backyards. These places, rather than the often imagined beaches where a walk along the shore could net a seeker golden jewelry, are where seekers of treasure can actually find stashed loot. Metal is the story of one such cache found at Shaker Falls Park by the new owner of a 40-acre tract, purchased after the park fell victim to a cost-cutting scheme and was parceled off to developers and park employees.
Java Davis’s historical fiction novel, Metal: A Treasure Hunt, blends history with the contemporary tale of a Park Ranger’s family. Randy Green had a marvelous job as a Park Ranger at Shaker Falls, which included a large and luxurious residence located on a hill in the park. His decision to invite his step-father to accept the plot the Parks Dept offered him made sense for the two men, who had become friends as well as relatives. The author’s contemporary story works quite well with the historical basis she sets forth. And as one of the many would-be fortune hunters who has spent some time researching metal detectors, I found this novel to be a literal treasure trove of good ideas and practical advice on whether and how to embark on my own hunts for buried loot. Davis’s story is enjoyable, well-researched and fast-paced. Her characters are engaging, and their lives are plausible and authentic. Metal: A Treasure Hunt is recommended.