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The Hooks Files has it all; murder, robbery, arson and amnesia! Set in the 1930’s, the book is a compilation of stories by a grampa to his grandson about his own childhood as he and his eleven year old cousin accompanied a local coroner (Hook) and assisted him at crime scenes.

The unlikely threesome use their common sense and 1936 technology to solve mysteries in a small town in Pennsylvania.

Paul Boyce wrote the book (the first of a trilogy) in part to counter the fascination with the Harry Potter series for young people. There is a Christian message woven within this book as the characters involved discuss ethics, faith and the choices that affect people’s lives.

Because of the author’s attention to authentic detail of life in the 1930’s before technology, the stories are fascinating and believable.

Although the book is aimed at teen readers (especially boys), I believe that the dialogue, crime scenes and careful development of the evidence make the book even more appealing to adults. Instead of being an alternative to Harry Potter, The Hooks Files is an excellent alternative to the C.S.I.-type books.

The author is strong on the descriptive details of the time period and the dialogue flows well but I felt that the character development was lacking.

As a reader I want to taste the suspense and squirm with anticipation as I experience the events unfolding within the pages of the book. Because the author chose primary characters who were only eleven years old, he has the perfect opportunity to show the crime scenes from the eyes of a young person but, instead, the children’s responses are similar to those of the adults in the story.

Secondly, even though the book seems to be aimed at younger readers (by the age of its primary characters), the writing style and content is much more appealing to an older reader.

All in all, I would highly recommend this book to adults and to young people with some disclaimers.

I received this book for review from the author. It is available through all major book retailers including Amazon and Barnes and Noble.


The author, Paul Boyce, is a retired Aerospace engineer who lives with his wife in the Pacific Northwest. They have two sons and five grandchildren all living in the same general area. It was only after retirement that Mr. Boyce began his writing career. His first effort was to research and write a family biographical history following the genealogy of his four grandparents and the four of his wife back to the American emigrant. The task took thirteen years, but it was during that time Mr. Boyce discovered that he enjoyed writing. Then with the encouragement of his wife he turned his attention to fiction.