Puzzle Trees

Young Adult - Mystery
302 Pages
Reviewed on 06/10/2015
Buy on Amazon

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Review Exchange Program, which is open to all authors and is completely free. Simply put, you agree to provide an honest review an author's book in exchange for the author doing the same for you. What sites your reviews are posted on (B&N, Amazon, etc.) and whether you send digital (eBook, PDF, Word, etc.) or hard copies of your books to each other for review is up to you. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email, and be sure to describe your book or include a link to your Readers' Favorite review page or Amazon page.

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Donation Program, which was created to help nonprofit and charitable organizations (schools, libraries, convalescent homes, soldier donation programs, etc.) by providing them with free books and to help authors garner more exposure for their work. This author is willing to donate free copies of their book in exchange for reviews (if circumstances allow) and the knowledge that their book is being read and enjoyed. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email. Be sure to tell the author who you are, what organization you are with, how many books you need, how they will be used, and the number of reviews, if any, you would be able to provide.

Author Biography

Thom Mark Shepard has worked several years in public television, building special databases for Zoom, This Old House, specializing in digital preservation. He is currently a librarian at MIT Lincoln Lab.

An earlier version of Puzzle Trees, titled, The Green Apettes, was a semi-finalist in the Amazon Young Adult contest, as well as a finalist in the Leapfrog Press Fiction Contest (Children's/Young Adult).

He has won the Ellis Literary Award for Short Fiction, a Pushcart Prize nomination, a Finalist Award from Leapfrog Press, and a semi-finalist in Amazon's Young Adult Contest.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

Puzzle Trees is a young adult mystery written by Thom Mark Shepard. Joe Sheffield is a freshman in high school. He's pretty much on his own in school now that his best friends, the Brill twins, moved away and his other best friend, Dave, became a popular jock. When Gina, a tall girl with tons of hair who keeps to herself, asks him for help returning a stolen watch to another girl in class, Joe agrees; but then he totally flubs the return and is blamed for the theft. The angry watch-owner turns him in to their teacher who then escorts him to Principle Popkin's office. Popkin looks just like one of the bad guys from the horror movies Joe and his brother like to watch, and it seems like Joe will be suspended or expelled. However, Popkin has another idea. His kitten has disappeared, and he wants her found. He gives Joe a picture of Sis and offers to forget about the watch incident if Joe can find her.

Thom Mark Shepard's young adult mystery, Puzzle Trees, combines the puzzling disappearance of a number of pet cats with an original and entertaining coming of age story. Shepard's characters are quirky and fun to follow as they try to find the missing cats. The plot is unpredictable and gets a lot of traction from Joe's predilection for horror movies and monster comic books. I enjoyed seeing how Joe and his step-brother work through their issues, and loved the oddball trilogy of Joe, Gina and Big Fred, the somewhat slow guy who even teachers pick on in class. Puzzle Trees will please adult readers who are young at heart as well as the targeted young adult audience. It's a well-written, absorbing mystery with depth and appeal. Puzzle Trees is highly recommended.