The second novel in the Hunter & Holmes series, Double Fugue continues to chronicle the adventures of Jason and Daniel that summer. The title refers to the two intertwining stories of the book, and the psychological impact that its events have on the two people Jason and Daniel assist. The main story line involves Daniel and his chance meeting with rock star Ethan Savage who is retiring from the music business and planning to give away most of his huge fortune from recording and publishing rights. When Daniel accidentally witnesses Ethan's mysterious disappearance and replacement by a double, he become involved in a very strange and troubling set of circumstances that end up having a major impact on his life. Daniel also discovers that there are many facets to music as he explores the pop side and learns about the concert/classical side through his interactions with Ethan Savage, Jason's friend Robert Fischer, and local educator and conductor David Molinari.
The other story line in Double Fugue begins when Marilyn and Jorge Ferreira, Jason's neighbors from down the block, knock on his door one evening and tell him how worried they are about their young nephew, 14-year-old Eric Acosta, who lives in Springdale, a small Monterey County town 70 miles south of the Silicon Valley. Eric apparently has been attacked, but refuses to talk about it with anyone, and seems to be withdrawing from communication with any adult, including his very concerned mother. Marilyn thinks that maybe Jason could get through to him, and asks him if he would be willing to try. Based on his own experiences as a crime victim and what he is told by the Ferreiras, Jason immediately senses that Eric has been victimized by a cruel predator. Jason and Daniel, along with their adult friend and advisor, Mr. Joe Connor, quickly set out to visit Eric and try to get him to reveal what happened. What they discover and become involved in is quite disturbing and gut wrenching! The book includes 43 full color illustrations, a “musical” graphic design, and a bonus musical score.
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Double Fugue, double the action
Double Fugue, the second novel in the Hunter & Holmes mystery series, is a story full of twists and turns that keeps the readers on their toes. Jason and Daniel are called upon to help Eric Acosta, another teen in grave danger, but they quickly find that his case requires some serious backup. Abused by his stepfather and neglected by his mother, Eric is severely withdrawn and emotionally scarred. Recognizing Eric’s need, Jason vows to help him in any way possible. But just as Eric’s situation seems under control, Daniel is forced into the center of a high-profile case involving his favorite rock star and a few crooked cops. With a little imagination and some help from the justice system, Daniel is rescued and the case is solved. But when things begin to look up for the detective duo, Eric goes missing. Once again, the Hunter & Holmes team must use intellect and intuition to find Eric and ensure his safety once and for all.
The novel opens with an emotional and heart-warming appeal to the reader. The interaction between Jason, Daniel, and their new friend Eric brings to light the serious atrocity of child abuse. Luckily, Jason and Daniel are able to bring Eric out of his shell with music, honesty, compassion, and friendship, as well as some financial help from Jason’s newly established charitable foundation. But as soon as Eric is pulled out of harm’s way, Daniel is thrown into it. After witnessing the kidnapping of his favorite musician Ethan Savage, he reports the incident to some nearby policemen. Unbeknownst to Daniel, these men are involved with Ethan’s capture and Daniel is then kidnapped himself. Bound, gagged, and blindfolded, he is left with little hope of escape. But as fate would have it, his signature black high-top Converse save him from a certainly dreadful future in the hands of criminals.
Using their creativity and connections at the police department, the Hunter & Holmes team are able to crack the case and bring justice to all involved. But just as it seems the teenaged detectives can finally get some rest, Eric’s aunt and uncle find that he is missing, and the boys are back in action. Using the clues left by Eric, Jason and Daniel are able to discover his whereabouts—a ranch owned by his stepfather on Red Valley Road. After an arduous search and standoff, Eric is rescued once more and brought back to safety. Although his struggle for normalcy continues, Eric learns to cope with his demons with friends and family by his side.
This novel depicts several difficult issues present in today’s world. Eric must deal and live with the memory of intense physical, emotional, and sexual abuse committed against him by a man who should have been a loving father figure. Although not as drastic or dire, Daniel struggles with the rift that forms within his family due to secrecy and lack of communication. Including adults such as Dr. Agoura and Mr. Molinari, Vaughan expresses the importance of music and counseling when it comes to healing after a traumatic event. He also writes characters that are self-aware and candid, which makes for a transparent conversation about dealing with emotions and standing up for one’s personal dignity. These unfortunate situations do occur in our society, and it is important for both children and adults to understand how they can be affected and what they can do to help.
The H&H Detective Service is at it again!
Double Fugue, the second title in the Hunter & Holmes mystery series, picks up right where The Kidnapping dropped off, never skipping a beat in the ceaselessly remarkable lives of teen protagonists Jason Hunter and Daniel Holmes. When the boys hear of another young brutality victim, Eric, the super duo quickly resurfaces the “H & H detective service” and calls on Jason’s Whatever Foundation to help Eric heal, physically and emotionally, while bringing his predator to justice. The story of Eric is only one nuance of Double Fugue as Daniel also finds himself in serious trouble, all leading to a gripping turn of events that the reader will never see coming. Full of rock star appearances, the duo’s classic Chuck Taylor high-top shoes, and striking plot twists, Double Fugue keeps reader’s jaws glued to the floor.
The story enhances the optimistic themes that emerged in The Kidnapping, but the informative writing style does not make the reading of the first book entirely mandatory. Readers can easily follow along with the new adventures without prior knowledge of Jason and Daniel, though familiarity with the first book will lead to a more powerful and emotionally gripping read of Double Fugue. The story delves further into the forefront friendship and psyche of Jason and Daniel, individually and jointly, making an understanding of the boys past helpful in generating personal connections to the present story. While the first book focused more on the personal life of Jason, Double Fugue provides insight into Daniel’s thoughts, actions, and family situation. This installment also introduces another member of the detective team when Eric shows he’s capable of the same crime-solving brilliance.
Eric’s dismal history has a powerful and instant effect on the reader. After being subject to repeated, long-term abuse, Eric uses the healing power of music and friendship to rise from the ashes. Eric advocates that bad experiences should not cause shame, but rather should be used to become a stronger person, overcome self doubt, and help others who suffer similarly. Even given his initial self blame, Eric allows his past to become water under the bridge by proper coping techniques and supportive friendships.
Mentor and friend Joe Connor speaks to Eric in a quote personally significant to the character, as well as the Hunter & Holmes series as a whole: “Today you discovered inside yourself that you have the strength and ability to fight back for what is right, and that indomitable spirit inside you is not worthless, it’s priceless!”
Themes such as teambuilding and peer support shine continuously in the writing, much like The Kidnapping. Although, Double Fugue builds the series further by offering more teen insight into the importance of setting professional goals. Daniel’s interest in music intensifies as he interacts with members of the school orchestra and meets his musical idol, Ethan Savage. Daniel understands the hefty workload and long, strenuous years it takes to break into the music industry, and demonstrates his maturity by starting to reach his goals now. This leads to an overall promotion of extracurricular school activities, which Daniel and Eric both become involved in.
Beside all the crime excitement, Jason, Daniel, and Eric are still normal teenage boys. They exercise at the local YMCA, play casual games of basketball with friends, and court their soon-to-be girlfriends. Throughout their detective work they still take breaks to recharge, and leave all the real, dangerous front work to the police force and their trusty friend, Lieutenant Garcia. This aspect is critical in the series, and brings the characters back down to the earth to allow readers to relate.
The Kidnapping left a thirst for more detective adventures, which Double Fugue justly delivered. Readers encountered recurring themes of peer support and coping, all while being introduced to more positive themes including the healing power of music. With Eric now acting as a sidekick to Jason and Daniel, a solid background has been created to ensure success as the series progresses.
Double Fugue is gripping tale that tackles an extremely serious issue with poise and positivity.
Double Fugue, the second book in the Hunter & Holmes mystery series, tells the tale of Jason Hunter and Daniel Holmes’ first real crime solving experience. In the previous book, The Kidnapping, Jason came into a large sum of money inherited from his great-grandfather. He took this money and invested it in a cause near and dear to his heart; a foundation that would give help and provide support for teenage crime victims, just like himself. Passionate about his cause, Jason dives right in to the challenge of selflessly helping others. Eric Acosta, the son of Jason’s old neighbors, has been molested and physically abused by his stepfather, Rogelio. Jason and Daniel waste no time giving Eric the support he needs to help bring him back to life, and immediately dive in to bring justice to such a disturbing and heart breaking case.
With the plot revolving around physical and sexual abuse, the novel is heavy and heart wrenching from the get-go. One of the stand-out successes of this book is the overarching message of positivity and support throughout all 284 pages. Jason, Daniel and the entire supporting cast are constantly providing positive reinforcement and complimenting others throughout the whole book. They continually reinforce the importance of creating positive bonds and friendships, and highlight the benefits of having a shoulder to lean on and somebody to confide in. Such a support system is unbelievably helpful in times of weakness, stress, or trauma, and connecting with others on a level where you can depend on them is vital to surviving the hardships experienced in life.
One of the easiest ways to connect with another individual is through music, and the power message of the benefits of being involved with music are literally pouring out of the pages of this novel. Jason and Daniel successfully break through to Eric with a powerful rendition of the American folk classic “Shenandoah”. Music is universal, and can be deeply moving to anybody who embraces it, and such power is evident throughout the book. Getting involved in music can be an extremely enriching life altering experience, and the protagonists in this book convey this message with ease to all the young readers.
Another constructive message conveyed through the text is the usefulness of thinking logically and strategically. Jason and Daniel continually think critically and plan their moves intelligently from the start, and hopefully such a smart and hardworking mindset will be absorbed and implemented by the teenage and young adult readers.
With ease, the author is quick to tie all three of the mentioned themes together and convey an effective message to the reader. Into a conversation with an old friend named Robert, Jason and Daniel get a full description of Robert’s dreams and aspirations. Robert describes how he has found his passion in musical performance, and details his step by step plan to make his dream a reality, and to become a professional classical musician. Robert relays the message that through hard work, dedication and strategic planning, one can overcome obstacles in their path and achieve their goals, no matter how difficult they may seem. In a world where many young adults are deterred from following their dreams by a world that is full of pressures and stresses, Double Fugue may serve as a mentor to young readers, and convince them to pursue their passions and work hard to achieve their full potential.
With a significantly smaller amount of drawn imagery, Double Fugue is gripping tale that tackles an extremely serious issue with poise and positivity. If readers were on the fence about the series, this novel should have no problem cementing readers in the action. Upon finishing this book, readers will be jumping out of their seats to read the next installment of the Hunter & Holmes mystery team.