Cousins and Robbers: Tales of Black Jack Jetty
Author Michael A. Carestio
Sometimes an author uses a unique way to narrative his/her story to engage readers and to lure them into the plot. Within this story we hear the voice of our narrative taking us on the many journeys along with the characters, dealing with their antics and finding out just how dangerous it is when young kids decide to take on some criminals who have been robbing homes in Black Jack Jetty on the South Jersey Shore.
The story opens on a bright and beautiful June morning as our narrator relates and describes the area and the many problems natives are having due to the recession. Our narrator if you are wondering is not one of the children or one of the adults that are quite prominent within this plot. The narrator is a beautiful Great Black Back Seagull who will guide you through this story, discuss the decisions made by the children and explain the history behind the death of one of the youngster’s fathers, introduce someone knew to Black Jack Jetty and finally lead you through what might be deemed so daring, dangerous and wild antics of these children who just want to stop some robbers but how they go about it will teach them some lessons we hope all children and these cousins will never forget.
Aunt Jane is the constant in this family and she is really upset about what the recession has done financially to many members of her family and she hopes that it will soon be rectified. Finding Uncle Black Jack’s hidden treasure might have opened as our seagull states: Pandora’s Box but let’s hope it lets out all of the evil, sorrow and despair leaves what was left in the real Pandora’s Box: HOPE! The hidden treasure was comprised of coins and now all that remains is their worth.
As Lucky, our narrator continues with how great it is to have the cousins back on the beach we meet a rambunctious, smart and CSI bound nine year old named Riley who looks for clues in everything to solve mysteries. We meet Jack who just lost his father who was killed in Afghanistan, Nicky and Willy two brothers. Willy who is smart but diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome and Nicky who looks out for him as does everyone else. Asperger’s syndrome or called Asperger’s disorder is a type of pervasive developmental disorder or PDD. PDD’s: a group of conditions that involve delays in the development of many basic skills like the ability to socialize with others, use imagination and communicate. It is similar to Autism but more severe. Willy is smart and has normal intelligence and near normal language and is able to communicate with his cousins. All of the cousins are quite close, get along, tease each other but you can feel the love and know that in a tight pinch they have each other’s back. As our narrator relates that Willy is smart and receives the support from his family and Nick has a big brother is the best.
Now let’s meet Erica the youngest member of the Aunts who has brought with her someone special to join the cousins for the summer. Angel is her student and his physical appearance might put others off but not the cousins who readily accept him as family. Aunt Jane’s daughter Allie, or Princess Cellular as Nick calls her is always on her phone.
Getting to know each of the cousins and understanding the area where they live the reader will learn more about Camden a tough area and Aunt Jane. Erica explains why she has brought Angel, his family situation, the fact that he is quite bright and well when you get to know him better you will realize that he becomes an integral part in what happens when the kids decide to become amateur sleuths and take down come criminals.
But, believe it or not our narrator has a relationship with Erica that is quite unique which is explained on pages 10-11 by Lucky himself. Meet him as he flies high in the sky, spreads his wings and tells his story.
This story primarily centers on the Crime Wave that has been plaguing the area. Houses are being robbed in Margate where they live and now with her deductive reasoning and figuring out the robber’s patterns, Riley predicts that Aunt Jane’s house just might be next. Precautions that her word and everyone things she is watching too much Law & Order but shouldn’t they take her seriously? What about the treasure that Jane found? Where is that hidden and what if they come after it? With so many of her relatives out of work like Nicky and Willy’s parents laid off from the police force and others just losing their jobs, they really need to be careful. As they each speculate about what to do and they recount that bikes are missing, tools from garages and little items, all of them realize that even keeping a spare key where anyone can get at it might be dangerous.
The cousins and their aunts head for the beach and bump into the Roach brothers and the altercation is quite interesting. The scene is vividly described once again by our narrator. Insults are hurled yet Angel stands firm and does not lower himself to their level. Fears come out when the gun show starts and Jack finds himself reminded of what happened to his father and Willy was not. The cousins reading the local paper decide they will stake out a specific spot and hopefully catch the robbers. Setting a trap for them because according to Riley there is a crime wave happening right in their small town. The narrator relates the history of Nazi Peak and its relation to the Germans and WWII as the cousins use this place to begin their watch. Thinking that nothing usual happened it was startled them when Angel puts it all together. Just what does he see and where does it lead them well you guessed it Atlantic City. But, Angel describes the area, tells them of the dangers but the cousins are eager to go and often do not think before they act.
As the cousins deliberate what they have learned and discuss it with Officer Tom, their wheels start to turn and the end result you just won’t believe. His odd nephew Cosmo as our narrator relates now occupies Mr. L’s house. Our narrator requests that nothing more about him be revealed. But, when the local paper states that Mr. is offering a fifty thousand dollar reward to capture the robbers who better than the cousins to go after it so they think!
Just how they put it together and why will be revealed when you read Chapter 9 and learning more about the treasure and if it is worth anything go along with Aunt Jane and the cousins to the numismatist to find out. Families often quarrel over money and the discussion about the worth and who gets what is the bulk of Chapter 11 but hang on as the cousins go after the robbers. Two wind up locked in the robber’s trailer, two follow in pursuit and one Willy is sent home to keep quiet and not reveal anything for two hours. Chapter 15 reveals the robbers but what happens to them is quite unique. As the cousins realize they are in a lot of trouble one young man uses his words to handle it all. Lessons learned in this book are many as the cousins might realize that going to Atlantic City on bike, trying to capture dangerous criminals might not be what kids are supposed to do. But, Angel just might be their ace in the hole when you find out what happens when one cool kid keeps his head and uses his mind and intelligence instead of his fists.
Will they be rescued? Is the treasure really worth something? What will they do with it if it is? If they get the money who gets a share of the 50 thousand? An ending that will surprise readers and a Seagull named Lucky that everyone just might want in their corner. Will they believe Lucky when he tells them where the kids are and what they are up to? Would you?
Cousins and Robbers: Tales of the Black Jack Jetty: meet the cousins and join them on their adventure but remember: This is just a story and going after criminals is the job of the police not kids. Characters that could be your next-door neighbor’s kids and a family that sticks together and is unified. What will Aunt Jane do when she finds out the truth? Will they get there in time? Find out when you read the book.
Fran Lewis: reviewer