Collard, Sneed. Cartwheel: A Sequel to Double Eagle
13 December 2013, Bucking Horse Books
Copy received from author.
Mike is trying to settle in for the summer with his father, stepmother, and baby brother, but he'd rather be home than spending time in Florida. When Kyle shows up at his door in a beat up Bel Air, he's certainly up for a road trip and to renew the friendship the two formed in Double Eagle. While Mike's father is a little reluctant to let him go, it's 1975, and young people were allowed a lot more freedom then! Kyle is now an emancipated minor after the death of his mother and desertion of his stepfather, and is determined to go to Alabama to pick up his sister, Annie. Annie is staying with an aunt and uncle, but claims that the uncle is abusive and she can't stay with them. Once the trio is assembled, they decide to investigate another coin related mystery, this time concerning the "cartwheel" a silver dollar manufactured by the government but supposedly destroyed before they could be distributed. If one of these existed, stolen from the mint somehow, it would be worth a huge amount. The best place to locate one of these, the group decides, is to head to the mint in Denver. Unfortunately, Mike's parents aren't thrilled about this trip, and the group spends a lot of time avoiding the police as well as buying and selling coins to get enough money for gas and food. When they make it to Denver, they connect with a coin dealer named Dan who was working at the mint at the time the cartwheels were produced, and who thinks that if the group can locate the original presses, some coins might have been stuck in them. Time is running short, however, and if coins are to be found, the group needs to hurry before the authorities catch up with them.
Strengths: Ah, the open road out west in a Bel Air. Could anything be better? Yes! Searching for long lost coins that could be worth huge amounts of money! I do like the fact that for Mike, the search is really more important than actually finding the coins. Readers today will have a hard time grasping that Mike was not connected to both his mother and father by cell phone every step of the journey, but that's the beauty of the story. All of the details of place are vivid-- I could just see the coin shops they visited and feel the heat and dust wafting through the windows of the Bel Air as they cruised down the back roads.
Weaknesses: Both Mike and Annie's lines are written in a slight dialect, and dialect always drives me a bit batty. I think that's just me, though.