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Reviewed by Paul Johnson for Readers' Favorite
It’s the summer of 1945, and World War II in Europe is over. In New Bonn, Minnesota, thirteen-year-olds Frank Warner, Jack Steiner, and Skeeter Stark are watching an abandoned German prisoner-of-war camp on Muskrat Island. One PW is rumored missing at final muster. One day they see something red moving on the island. Is it the missing PW? They decide to find out, but after their raft is set adrift they find a warning note signed “Red Rover.” A series of harassments follow, but Red Rover eludes them. A short time later, Skeeter receives a posthumous letter from his war-hero brother, Buck, which directs him to a strange treasure map. Buck’s Army Ranger buddy, Wayne Hill, comes to help the boys unscramble the strange map.
After some time the boys confront Red Rover, whose identity comes as a complete surprise. Red Rover tells them that there is something about Hill that doesn’t ring true. Risking their lives, with the help of Red Rover, the boys work to solve the secret of the map. But, they also discover that all treasure is not exactly as imagined.
Like the return to simpler childhood memories, I really enjoyed this book. The characters were well defined and memorable, each eagerly awaiting the end to the war. As I read, I could easily see the boys deciphering the map and searching for a lost treasure. The Red Rover characterization was also well developed. The plot was simple with just enough intrigue to keep the reader wanting to know more. Overall, well done.