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Reviewed by Tilmer Wright Jr for Readers' Favorite
The Key House: The Noland Kids Adventure Series Book 1 by Mike Curtis introduces readers to brothers Caleb and David Noland. They are twelve and ten years old, respectively. The brothers move into an inherited home with their parents and younger sister, where they settle into the regular routines of daily life. One day, while playing an invented game in their backyard, they discover a hidden pit that leads to a dark and mysterious tunnel. What will they learn about their house, their great-great-grandfather’s history, and how it connects to some less-than-friendly neighbors? Will they find long-lost pirate treasure, or will they suffer their demise? Along the way, their faith will be tested, their relationship with God will come into focus, and their connection to the world will be strengthened.
Mike Curtis’ The Key House is aimed at younger readers; however, I found myself smiling and rapidly turning the pages as I relived the joy serial mysteries like The Hardy Boys gave me as a kid. It is a clever story, with realistic family scenarios deftly blended with high adventure, complete with tales of pirates’ gold and riddles left by a distant ancestor. Curtis skillfully weaves the underlying Christian message into the story as a natural part of who the characters are, consistent with their overall portrayal. The story's pace builds nicely, with the tension steadily rising until the satisfying end brings readers down from an exciting climax.