The Ghosts of Minera Springs

A Novel

Young Adult - Thriller
223 Pages
Reviewed on 09/16/2023
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Charles Franklin grew up in Mineral Wells, Texas. Following a 22-year Army career, he now lives in Texas with his beautiful wife and three children. For his day job, he is now a high school teacher and basketball coach. As an author, he enjoys telling tales of adventure filled with faith and purpose. When he's not writing, he enjoys spending precious time with his family.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Alex Ndirangu for Readers' Favorite

The Ghosts of Minera Springs is a young adult mystery by Charles Franklin. The book starts by transporting us to Minera Springs in the summer of 1982. When ten-year-old Tobi Sloan is sent to live with her grandparents at the farm, she can't wait to find adventure in her new home. Things get even more interesting when she meets Riley Cockerham, a witty ten-year-old boy with lots of spooky ghost stories about Minera Springs, one of which concerns an old bride who murdered her husband long ago. Rumor has it that she still roams the woods. For the next three years, Riley and Tobi spend most of their free time together on exciting adventures down by the creek until they head into a dilapidated old mansion rumored to be the residence where the Union Hill Bride brutally ended her husband's life. The ghost that Riley believed to roam the woods is as real as can be. Only this time, they are going back to help confront and vanquish the wickedness dwelling at the very core of Minera Springs.

I couldn't resist this classic. The book is packed with lots of action, not to mention the hilarious moments that will have you chuckling to yourself. Charles Franklin's well-constructed, vivid descriptions and authentic dialogue will seamlessly transport you into the narrative. So extensively narrated are the scenes that you can visualize the fireflies floating down by the creek bed as darkness sets in and almost smell Maw Blanch's bacon and eggs. My tranquil mood would shift to nervous alertness every time Riley was alone, quietly traversing the rough terrain, and hearing a stick snap behind in a thick patch of undergrowth. I couldn't shake the feeling that the creatures thought to live under the bridge, or that the witches rumored to be buried somewhere in the lake, were back and lurking. I commend Franklin's choice of the first-person point of view as the primary narration style. The unique characterization and storyline are better experienced first-hand. With heavy suspense, nail-biting twists of events, well-fleshed-out characters, thrilling action, and adventures, and the intricacies of young love, The Ghosts of Minera Springs has it all.


It has been quite a while since I’ve had time to read a book for pleasure. My daughter has read some of his other work and enjoyed it, and mentioned she wanted this series, so, add to cart! When I say wow, I mean it. I read this book in less than a day. I could not put it down! There was a bit of familiarity with the setting of the book which took me back to when I was much younger. Some of the adventures of Tobi and Riley seemed like memories, which was fun to think back on. That’s not what kept me in it, though. The twists and turns and “WHAT” factor that comes with the conflict kept me turning the pages. I had to know how it ended, and quite literally sat on edge for the last several chapters! This is an excellent short read. I’m eager fo see where book 2 takes me!


This book gripped me from the very beginning I read this book in one sitting it!
As always check your tw, i know it has abduction, insinuations of SA and a few others.


I thought this was going to be a supernatural story and it wasn't. I had gone more than halfway through the book before I realized there were no ghosts coming. But I still had to know what was going to happen so I finished the book in one setting. While there were no real ghosts except for the metaphorical kind, there were heaps of ghost stories. A lovely story that is beautifully written and catches you by the throat at the end. I recommend this to anyone who is willing to put up with a bit of slow burn at the beginning and ends up with a bonfire. Great ....thriller book.


This was such an enjoyable and fast-paced read that had me hooked from page one. I couldn't put it down and finished it in one day. I enjoyed the dual point of views and the 80s setting. There's something for everyone in this story from romance to mystery/thriller. I loved this one and look forward to reading the next in the series.


This was an enjoyable, emotional, and suspenseful read. Riley and Tobi are such endearing characters! The alternating point of view provided dimension and, at times, humor to the story. I loved watching these characters grow and develop through friendship, family relationships (both easy and complicated), and tragedy. Riley and Tobi definitely took me along for the ride on their journeys. I would have liked to have seen the ghost story/crime portion of the novel enter into the plot a little sooner and more prominently. Additionally, I think this story line could have been more fleshed out and developed.


When she was 10 years old Tobi's mother dropped her off at her grandparents and drove off. Tobi chased her car down the street until she ended up in the dirt road in a swirl of dust. Ten years old Riley saw Tobi and thought she was an angel. A beautiful angel. And vowed to always protect her. They became best friends, skipping rocks at the creek or chasing down ghost stories. Then Riley's older brother is murdered and his girlfriend kidnapped and never seen again. Riley can't handle the stress and just drives off in Wes's car. He gets work on a ranch in Texas and doesn't return until he hears that Tobi has been taken by the same kidnappers. Then he tries to help find Tobi. His instincts are good and he locates Tobi but they would have both been killed if it wasn't for Tobi's grandpa Pete. This sounds like a sweet little book but, believe me, it has more scary moments and unexpected twists and turns than you would ever imagine. I thoroughly enjoyed every page of it.


Adventure, Ghost Stories, and dual points of view story telling. This was an amazing read. I was intrigued by the opportunity to ARC read this for the author. I read the synopsis and it (as well as the cover of the book) had me hooked. It was easy to follow both narratives as they flowed. The book was hard to put down and when I did because of life things I thought about it constantly and needed to know what happened. The blooming relationship between our two main characters Tobi and Riley was sweet and heartfelt. From meeting at a young age of 10 to 18 years old you get to see their many adventures throughout life up until that point. Can I just say personally Riley had a special place in my heart from the time I met him in the book. He is sweet, funny, adventurous and that first love....especially at first sight. This author nailed it. Though it did start off kind of slow as the book went on I felt that this was not only intentional on the author's part but also needed at the same time. I believe it is what really helped draw me in because you felt like you where there with the characters and if you were living in the story and let's be honest. Not everyday is fast and quick and things happen. It is slow and drawn out a bit. However I also believed this helped transport me to this place of Minera Springs....where life is slow and simple and typically not much happens. It allowed you to watch Tobi and Riley really grow. When the suspense that hit and when trying to figure out the who and why I knew, I'd love this book and I would need another one. step back into the 80's of a simple little town of Minera Springs and let your adventure begin.

On a side note I am excited to learn that there is another 2 books in the works. I need to know what happens next! I did receive a free advanced copy of this book and a writing this review completely voluntary.


From the publisher & a quote from the book: “You’re the angel I saw that day, and when I prayed that night, I told God I’d protect you.”

I was so excited when I was presented with an opportunity to read this and review it from @charlesfranklinauthor, and it dawned on me that halfway thru the book, I went into it not knowing anything about it! I didn’t even read the synopsis. I was drawn to the cover!!


I love thriller / suspense books.
This book was so much fun. Took me back to the days of innocence and small towns. Sweet love and fun exploring. Then of course stranger danger plays a part. Sadly dysfunctional family's were even back then.
Can't wait to dive into book 2 & 3


This book was an easy read, one you read in one sitting. I will say that the first half was a bit slower side but the blooming relationship between the 2 main characters kept my attention. Based of the summary of the story I thought we would see more of the thrills early on, but they didn’t really pick up until a little over half way through. There was a few sprinkles of suspense in the first half though and I did enjoy the build up storyline of Riley & Tobi. There is the small country town vibes, where you feel like you are there in Minera Springs. I loved the childhood friendship that Riley & Tobi had and loved watching it blossom as they grew older and experienced life lessons and how they matured through those lessons. I absolutely adored the relationship between Tobi and her Maw Blanch and Paw Pete, they gave the most warm and fuzzy feelings. Can I have a Maw & Paw in my life?! I wanted a little more closer on Julie but just like in real life with those situations there usually isn’t. That whole situation with her and Wes really tugged at my heart. Overall this is a great book with a little of everything, young love, coming of age, ghost stories and murder/mystery. I can’t wait to see what adventures book 2 takes us on with Riley & Tobi.


I can't give enough praise for this writer and this whole series! I could not put this book nor the other two down The characters are alive and wonderful and if you're like me you won't be able to get them out of your mind. If you're looking for a lot of adventure and excitement then this is your series.
Please read this book and the others as well. I promise you won't be sorry!!


First book I've read by this author and it was an awesome read. I Loved every moment of this book


This book had me hooked from the start!! Toni and Riley took me on an emotional ride but i enjoyed reading this fantastic book. This was a great read.

Amazon Customer

A very moving story. I just could not put the book down. I felt like I was right there watching everything unfold and feeling their sorrow and the pain. This story pulls you right into their lives, for the sad parts and the heart warming parts for a great read.


This is a new author and series for me. I am very impressed with the writing and flow of the story. As I became intwined in the story I read it in less than 4 hours and am now on to book 2.

Debbie Jean

This is a new author for me, and there are a few things that pleasantly surprised me from the start: I enjoyed the voice and the coming-of-age narrative to this story. I could almost hear the characters' dialect as I read, which drew me in right away. I enjoyed the way characters and plot were built throughout the book, the way different pieces of information or past scenes would return later in the book. The things that drew me out of the story were times the book seemed to slow, and the female/male stereotypes and other non-gender stereotypes (I’m keeping it vague so as not to spoil anything plot-wise). That said, some of the stereotypes could be attributed to the personality of the characters and their culture, and despite those things, this was still an enjoyable read overall! Good character building and some solid action/creepy moments.


This is not my typical book of choice, however, was so good that I had to keep reading to see what happens.

I enjoyed the dual points of view of Tobi and Riley, how they found their person and grew through their pain together. Adventures and first loves, mixed with ghost stories and murder. It was nice to see the development of the main characters as they grew from age 10 to 18. The heartache and sadness you could feel through them actually brought me to tears at one point. When the suspense that hit, when trying to figure out the who and why I knew, I'd love this book.

I can't wait to read the 2nd one and see where Tobi and Riley's story goes next!


This is not my typical genre but I was able to snag it as an arc and I’m so happy I was because I wouldn’t have wanted to miss out !!!! This is dual POV between 2 10 year olds growing up in a small town in Texas. They grow up together and develop a close relationship because of their similar up bringing. There adventures together lead them to solving some mysteries ghost stories that the town is known for. They bond and as they grow they realize they have feelings for them which only blossoms into a great young love coming of age story. This is suspenseful and mysterious and will keep you on the edge of your seat.


I really enjoyed this story a lot. I got a little too attached to the characters.


Things are just different in Minera Springs. For Tobi and Riley this means sharing the ghost stories with each other and turning them into adventures.

When I started reading Ghosts of Minera Springs I had zero clue to what I was diving into, definitely didn't expect to get completely drawn into the sweetest suspense story I have ever read. When an author can make me laugh, scream, and cry all within a couple hundred pages, they have successfully done their job. Charles Franklin skillfully accomplishes the emotional Rollercoaster several times in this book. I think this is the first time I have read a slow burn suspense, but it definitely won't be my last time! And then we have the main characters, OMG! Riley's internal dialog through out the entire book was the sweetest and most heart wrenching thing. You can't help but want ro grab him and wrap him in the biggest motherly hug possible. Then you have Tobi pulling at your heart strings as you watch her grow in to her braveness and strength.

I highly recommend this book to any and everyone who is looking for something unlike any other Suspense Novel they have ever read!

I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.


This book followed Tobi and Riley from when they were 10 to late teenagers. Because of this you are able to see them grow from the first time they met to the tight best friendship they grew. You’re able to see how complicated their lives are from even adolescence. Soon they hear rumors about ghosts and paranormal events spread around that are pushed off as scary ghost stories but always remains in the back of their head. Once they get older and they see more of the “adult world” they realize these ghosts are a lot more realistic than they used to believe. I LOVED this book because of how close I felt to the characters. Since you see them grow up, the situations they encounter feels so close and real. I also think this book did a great job at surprising me. I genuinely could not predict what was going to happen. And in the end the message and experiences of the main characters were very modern and relevant to our current age. This book addressed an ongoing problem in society in a very impactful and meaningful way. This was the first book in a long time that had made me cry. It’s hard to put this book down once you get into it. I am super excited to read the next of this series. The preview at the end already looked super interesting.


This book was absolutely fantastic! It was so well written, and the story just literally pulls you in straight from the beginning pages. I read this book in one day because I could not put it down. The characters are so well developed, the story itself is written seamlessly, and the mystery that is weaved throughout the book just sucks you in resulting in a book that keeps you turning the pages. I am normally not a fan of multiple time jumps in a story, but the author did these so well that it just made sense and I never felt like I was missing chunks of the story. And Tobi and Riley were just made for each other. Their innocent love is forged through some very difficult life events, but one thing they can always rely on is their friendship and each other. I love how we literally get to witness them grow up together, and see their feelings and relationship grow and mature. I am so invested in these two that I cannot wait for book 2 to continue their story. I cannot recommend this book enough if you love a YA mystery, suspense novel.


I started and finished this book in one day! I seriously couldn’t put it down!! This is truly one of the books that will stay in my mind for a while. I had to sleep before I actually started writing this review.

I love how the book goes between Tobi and Riley. Starting right before they first met as 10 year old kids. And ending as adults. Following their journey of adventures, friendship turning into romance. I just love the characters. You can feel their struggles and heartaches. I felt for them as kids and this book brought me to tears at one point too. I was in the edge of my seat needing to know what was going to happen next!

So much action and adventure, nail biting suspense on what’s going to happen next. Ghost stories that seemed so real. So many emotions in one book!

I just love it! And I can’t wait to read the next one and check out other books from this author!