By: Donald Willerton
Publisher: Terra Nova Books
Publication Date: November 2017
Reviewed by: Amy Lignor
Review Date: November 6, 2017
As with all Mogi Franklin stories, this one starts right off...with a bang!
We begin in the past. It is 1963, and two planes are being loaded up with some very frightening material. Both appear exactly the same on the outside: same make and model, same number of engines - even the pilots are dressed the same. All except for a pin that one proud pilot always wears no matter what. The materials being loaded are headed for Los Alamos, New Mexico, a location that has a great deal to do with military secrets throughout almost every decade. (Remember the Roswell UFO crash?)
These particular planes are transporting plutonium, and they look exactly the same for a reason: the government wishes to keep any and all would-be spies and hijackers completely confused as to which plane is carrying the real stuff. You see, it's the Cold War era, and the Communists have just shown the U.S. that they have nuclear weapons. Which means there are plenty of Russians out there who would love to get their hands on that plutonium in order to build more bombs. Oddly enough, even with all the protection in place, one of the planes disappears into thin air...
Zip forward to present day and we join Mogi Franklin and his sister Jennifer. In Los Alamos, NM, they are attending a weeklong science program. It is here that they are literally looking at duplicates representing the only two nuclear weapons ever to be used in war (AKA: Fat Man and Little Boy.) Even though the history of these two famous bombs is scary to think about, being in the midst of the Valles Caldera National Preserve also makes it a scenic, beautiful, calm site for Mogi and his friends.
While at the conference, the kids not only learn about the disappearance of the plane back in the 1960's, but also about the two hundred pounds of plutonium that the plane was carrying. Mogi also comes across a box with a message in it written in Morse Code that will, perhaps, unlock the entire mystery. Mogi will not rest until he figures things out, and in doing so he and his friends will deal with spies, lies and one of the most frightening blazes that has ever hit the Southwest.
This is Book #5 of the Mogi Franklin Mysteries, and the author continues to create tales that are exciting, offer up pieces of history that make for a great learning experience, and combine adventure and intelligence to bring the pages to life. Even though these are rated for middle grade readers, these titles are cool enough to grab and keep everybody's attention!
Quill says: If you haven't met Mogi Franklin yet, THIS is the time to do so!