A Treasure Hunt

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
130 Pages
Reviewed on 08/10/2015
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    Book Review

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.

Kayti Nika Raet

In Metal: A Treasure Hunt by Java Davis, Dr. Frank Lally, a retired Navy podiatrist, is a family man and metal detector hobbyist. His wife is being treated for Alzheimer’s disease at an expensive life care center. His step-daughter needs to divorce her cheating husband and move back home. His step-son is losing his job and his home. Life seems to have dealt them a bad hand and Frank wonders how he will keep it all together when, while out with his metal detector, he discovers a cache of hidden coins. Finding the coins was the easy part; it's the effort to keep them that will prove harder than Frank ever could imagine.

Metal: A Treasure Hunt by Java Davis is a quick read. The writing style has a little more telling than showing, but luckily Davis has a really intriguing tale that works with the simple story-telling. I loved learning about what goes into metal detecting, as well as what could possibly happen to large finds. It was well researched and kept my interest. Metal was told through multiple points of view; everyone in the family had a voice and Davis handled it well. All the characters were interesting and were able to stand out. Davis also touched a little on how Alzheimer's disease affected not only the person suffering through it but everyone in the family. It affected everyone in different ways and made them come closer together. A quick, enjoyable read.

Tracy Slowiak

Metal, the new novel by author Java Davis, follows our main character Dr. Frank Lally, a retired Navy podiatrist, as he navigates through the stresses of later life. His wife, Beatrice, suffering from dementia, requires the services of a very expensive life care center. His stepdaughter, Dolores, needs to divorce her cheating husband and return home at the same time that his stepson, Randy, is losing his job and his home. Frank’s escape from the strain of his everyday life is to take his two dogs, Cinnamon and Ginger, as well as his trusty metal detector, and go out treasure hunting. Treasure hunting without a lot of luck that is, but at least his hobby gets him out of the house and into the great outdoors. Sometimes a breath of fresh air is all that’s needed to clear the mind.

Metal is a story of family connectedness, loyalty, and above all, hope, even in times of great distress. Frank remains committed to his wife even as she forgets who he is, forgets the life they shared and everything about him. He remains loyal to his stepchildren, who he has raised since they were young, even in their times of strife. This fictional work is heartwarming and sweet, and follows a story line that is true to life. Readers of fiction and those who enjoy stories about family complications would enjoy this book. Author Java Davis leaves us with a cliff hanger, or maybe it would be best to say that she leaves us with an ending in which we can determine for ourselves what we hope happens to the likeable Dr. Frank Lally.