Young Chase Baker: The Cross of the Last Crusade: Vincent Zandri
A simple prank meant to scare a friend winds up shooting out a window and almost killing two friends. Chase Baker is home alone and his father is out but he expects him to follow the rules even when he’s not home. But his two friends decided to break into his house scaring him half to death causing him to take drastic again. But, luckily for the three the casualties were not them but the window and anything else that Chase might regret breaking later. After the dust settles Bailey explains his idea about breaking into the cemetery to get the gold cross but he thinks they can hock it for cash whereas Chase tries to be the voice of moral reasoning and wants it given to the museum where it belongs. Arguments ensue and discussions get heated but eventually they agree on a plan. The problem is not only their hair brained idea but the execution. From this point on they collect what they need and create disguises and the rest is right out of a Three Stooges or Laurel and Hardy movie.
Three teens decide to go on an unusual treasure hunt to dig up the grave of an old and recently buried a Frenchman, Pierre Menands. But, first they have to gather what they need, plan their strategy and find their way to the cemetery where he’s buried. Meet the three musketeers: Chase Baker, Dylan Bailey and Twigs. These three are friends but listening to their banter you wonder how anything gets done as they argue, deliberate and finally decide on a plan. If they find this valuable artifact what will they do with it? Chase says give it to the museum. His father would help with that but his friends see dollar signs.
Finding the grave in a hilarious and speed filled ride, these three ride in a backhoe and pray for their lives a Chase drives this thing but how you have to see it to believe it. Taking the cemetery slow and then finding their first landmark the soon to be monument of Albany Mayor, Erastus Corning. His future grave standing tall like an ancient obelisk: A Celtic cross- topped obelisk.
The humor created in some of the scenes adds to learning more about each teen and when Monique enters the picture it gets more complicated since she just shows up because she likes and wants to control Chase.
The ingenuity of these three boys and the courage they show standing up for themselves and not backing down is admirable but what they did might cause them a penalty if they survive. The comedy comes in as each one deals with their fears in their own way mirroring their individual personalities. But, Monique asked to join them never figuring out what the end result or consequences might be. They never figured out what would happen if they get caught or if their parents find out.
Imagine escaping the police chasing you after breaking into a cemetery. Chase takes the four friends over the train bridge and hoping they don’t get killed as the train zooms by. This scene you have to read and experience for yourself to feel the tension, fear and suspense. Added next just where does Chase think the artifact is and will another break in be their next move?
The adventurous side of theses teens definitely mirrors the adventurous side of our fantastic Author Vincent Zandri who loves exploring new places.
Entering the mansion and breaking the lock the four crusaders would find themselves in a situation that most adults could not survive or handle. The lights go dark and the alarm sounds and what follows is right from an episode of the Twilight Zone or an Alfred Hitchcock movie. As they explore the basement what happens next finds them held in captivity by some sadistic men. But, a vision that Chase had comes front and center as the voices heard want to use these teens as human sacrifices but will they succeed?
They started by believing that Menands was dead and buried in Albany Rural Cemetery. Then Chase senses or dreams that the cross is possessed and has some spiritual power and that’s why the grave was empty. They cross the bridge and go to the mansion and he along with his friends relive the vision he had but in real life. Chained to the walls and held captive will they escape what they think is happening? Is the body in the coffin Really Menand? Who is the man called Henry? Can a dead man be reincarnated? This ending is one only Vincent Zandri could create as the final fate of the four is decided but will it be the one that the man called Henry devised or something else? As the sword is about to take a life who will avoid the power or curse of the cross of the last crusade? A story of friendship, loyalty, adventure and three teens you just have to love.