Sarah Fincher goes on a road trip.
The characters from Skeleton Creek get to branch out from their small town and explore some of the haunted places around the United States. Ryan has found a piece of paper with a series of clues on it and he sends Sarah thousands of miles to go find out more information about the different locations.
The Crossbones is different than the first book. Students, let’s make that clear. There are videos and the journal, but the focus in book three is more on uncovering The Crossbones’ secrets. There is one part where I did jump, even though I was sitting in the library, but the action here is more of a National Treasure variety. (Although being stuck in an underground tunnel with a potential killer is right up there with being stuck underground with a ghost. Both are situations I’d rather not be in.)
Book three is also different because they have a new person playing the part of Sarah. That’s my guess, since she’s no longer on camera and her voice is different. The videos are also more professional looking, which I think takes away from the realism. Sarah’s talented, but I liked it when she was dropping the camera on the dredge floor. That’s no knock on Jeffrey Townsend – the videos look great; it’s just a style thing for me. Most of the passwords on the site now link to three types of video: footage from Sarah, a polished documentary, and rough reel-to-reel film from a member of the Crossbones.
The places that Sarah visits are real, which is great because students can research the history if they want to learn more. There’s even a map of the trip that she takes, in case you want to plan a family vacation around centuries-old conspiracies.
The main mystery, when solved, was an, “Oh. I didn’t know that.” moment for me. The real kicker was discovering the hierarchy of the secret society and wondering how involved Ryan’s family is in it.
The Crossbones is different, but it’s still a good read. It could be read as a standalone novel, but I think you need the first two books to truly connect with the characters.
Personal note: Ryan has to drive a minivan that leaks oil and has bad tires. I’ve done that and can relate. A funny comment in one of the videos is a Crossbones member talking about how it wasn’t until Andrew Jackson that they found a president they liked.