School is out, but the lazy carefree days of summer are soon filled with more adventures for the Hunter & Holmes detective team. Jason and Daniel have a very unusual meeting with Enrico Feraducci, a Mafia godfather who has a special request for them. Jason and Daniel travel with Joe Connor to southern California to try and broker a reconciliation for him with his estranged daughter and grandchildren. Daniel begins rehearsing with his band as they work on creating their sound and search for a keyboard player. Jason and Daniel then meet and make friends with Nick, a very talented and gifted pianist who wants to join the band but recently has been threatened and attacked by a mysterious stranger who somehow is able to enter his house at will. Jason and Daniel are determined to help Nick and protect him from further attacks. Captain Garcia leads a task force to try and solve a string of missing children cases in the town of San Matthias. Soon Jason and Daniel become involved in the investigation. Jason's relationship with Laura and Daniel's relationship with Diana have major developments. Many of their mutual friends, Eric, Rebecca, Timothy, Teresa, Chauncey and the A List basketball team all have interesting changes in their lives. All these things and more are in Family Matters, the fourth book in the Hunter & Holmes Mystery Series. 302 pages, 48 full color illustrations and graphics.
A swirling tale of risk, abuse, love, and family honor--every character is in for a wild ride!
Family Matters, the fourth novel in the Hunter & Holmes series, truly showcases the importance of family, friendship, honor, and loyalty. Throughout its entirety, certain relationships continue to grow, develop, and gain clarity, beginning with that of Joe Connor and Jason and Daniel. When Joe opens up about his family, the boys strive to make his personal life more fulfilling as payment for all of his help during their past missions. Jason also forges a stronger relationship with the “A-List” athletes at school and Daniel begins to solidify his bond with his band and with Diana Miglione. But in true Hunter & Holmes fashion, Daniel and Jason don’t stay put for long. When Daniel wins a game company contest, both boys begin to play one of the most realistic and terrifying games of their young lives.
Instead of trying out new video games, the boys are forcibly brought to meet with mob boss Enrico Feraducci. Feraducci expresses his need for their detective prowess to help his grandson, Nicolo, and appeals to their strong senses of honor and righteousness. The victim of past crimes, Nicolo is thought to be in danger of a horrible fate, and it’s up to Daniel and Jason to make sure that future crimes against him are prevented. To do so, Feraducci requests that the boys befriend him.
At first, Daniel is unsure about meeting Nicolo because of the rough way his grandfather treated them. However, when another victim is taken from Nicolo’s small hometown, Daniel agrees to a meeting. Blown away by his musical abilities and friendly personality, both Jason and Daniel are determined to keep young Nicolo safe. But when he goes missing, the teenaged detectives must employ their courage and critical thinking skills more than ever to save him. With Jason willing to risk life and limb to prevail, the reader is left to wonder if his confidence and previous successes have gone to his head. There always seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel for him, but the deeper into this case he goes, the dimmer the light seems to become.
In a swirling tale of risk, abuse, love, and family honor, every character is in for a wild ride. Already mature for their ages, Daniel and Jason continue to grow and face real world consequences and concerns. They witness the struggles of several broken families and they make their romantic relationships with girlfriends Diana and Laura official. Jason and Daniel do not always see eye to eye, and Jason discovers how much influence his presence really holds. But with great power comes great responsibility, and it remains to be seen if these determined teens are able to handle the demanding duality of teenaged and adult life.
The stakes are higher for the H&H detective team!
Where there is a wrong, the detective duo of Jason Hunter and Daniel Holmes works to make it right by taking justice (and risk) into their own hands. The teenagers consistently stare danger straight in the eye, and Family Matters, the fourth of the Hunter & Holmes series, follows the same reeling action sequence when they again become tangled into the hottest criminal cases of the Silicon Valley. The boys have established a prominent name for themselves among their community, the police force, and now, the Mafia! The stakes are higher than ever when the case spirals out of control and Jason risks everything, including his own life, to fight against evil and save a friend. Combining internal family struggles with themes of revenge and reconciliation, the suspenseful book strengthens Jason and Daniel’s thirst for justice while simultaneously revealing their innermost thoughts and fears.
Family Matters marks a turning point in the Hunter & Holmes series as Jason and Daniel gain upward status in the eyes of their superiors, and therefore take on more responsibility and risk. The connections made within the police force and the community has already aided Jason and Daniel in their own undertakings, but this time it is the police force and a Mafia don reaching out to the boys for help. Despite a lifelong separation from his family’s Mafia ties, Nicolo Feraducci’s sheltered teen life is endangered when a masked intruder repeatedly accesses his locked home undetected. Jason and Daniel feel it is their duty to stop the attacks and save a fellow musician.
By having professional cases presented to them, the boys are faced with a new struggle: should we help? While they have always been eager to solve a case, Family Matters delves deeper in to their personal struggles to illustrate the daunting reality of the situations. Readers will find themselves asking whether the ends justify the means, and whether or not we are all obligated to stop evil even through personal sacrifice and danger.
Given the amount of violence and harmful images imposed upon the young victims, as well as Jason and Daniel, the theme of positive coping mechanisms and open communication is significant throughout the story. The open honesty theme first considers family situations, specifically within mentor Joe Connor’s somewhat broken family. Later, the ability to cope with traumatic experiences and the aftermath of emotions allows all the victims to heal properly. Readers are able to see a vulnerable side of Jason when he goes through bouts of self-doubt based on his experiences. Through the rough situations in the book, music and love as healing powers override, pushing readers to further understand the value of open friendships and reaching out to others for support.
The theme of coping and support is also strengthened from a new angle when readers are shown the effects of negative coping behavior. By not properly dealing with their emotions and negative circumstances, the criminals in the book resorted to violent revenge against family. While Jason and Daniel lean towards forgiveness to create positive changes, the absolute opposite manner of solving an internal struggle is perfectly exemplified in the villains. The lack of parental guidance from the criminals during childhood, followed by their inability to cope and speak openly about their emotions led to incomprehensible violence and downfall. Finally, readers are shown the reality of what happens when Jason and Daniel’s coping techniques are not followed, which builds credibility towards characters and the series’ themes as a whole.
Family Matters is a Controversial yet Compelling Experience for Young Readers
Family Matters, the fourth book the Hunter & Holmes mystery series, is easily the most stressful installment thus far, and will have readers biting their nails as they flip through the pages. After being given a quick snapshot of the current personal lives of the protagonists Jason and Daniel, readers quickly find that Jason’s calling to help teenage victims of abuse can throw him for a loop at any moment. Using extremely unconventional means, a mafia don by the name of Enrico Feraducci enlists the help of the heroes of the Silicon Valley. Nicolo, the grandson of the mafia kingpin, has been visited twice by a predator in his home, and Mr. Feraducci hopes that Jason and Daniel may be able to bring this evil masked man down. There have been other cases of assault and kidnapping in the area, so it seems that making a difference here could also protect countless other innocent adolescents in the area. After the boys befriend Nicolo, they receive word that their new pal has been kidnapped. Nicolo’s abduction leads to an extremely tense yet wildly dramatic rescue mission that readers will not want to miss.
Along with all of the action packed into this story, a substantial amount of time is spent giving the readers a better understanding of the personal relationships of the characters in the series. Since both Jason and Daniel are maturing from young teenagers into young men, the complexity of their familial, professional, and romantic relationships drastically increases. Both of our heroes are finding themselves caught at a crossroads, with interests and priorities dragging them in several different directions. With the needs and concerns of family and girlfriends weighing on their hearts, along with desires to work towards their professional goals, not to mention the emotional rollercoaster that is teenage romantic relationships, readers will surely find no lull in the drama or action in this fourth novel of the series.
The significance and positive implications of music are also highlighted fairly frequently in this novel. Nicolo is added to the mix as an extremely gifted pianist, potentially worthy of the title “child prodigy”. Readers will find it extremely interesting to compare the paths, highs and lows of both Nicolo and Daniel; the former a classical virtuoso in training, and the latter an aspiring performing artist in a more modern context. The benefits of logically attacking ones dreams with diligence, preparation, and steady action are exhibited by both musicians. They show that through hard work and dedication they can effectively improve their skill sets, and drastically increase their chances of achieving their goals. Jason also shows similar drive and dedication through the context of organized sports, becoming one of the “A-team” players on his high school basketball squad.
Overall, Family Matters stays true to its predecessors and provides an enthralling experience for the reader. Despite having arguably the most controversial and mature mystery, and the heaviest real world implications, positivity still radiates from the hearts of the protagonists and supporting characters. Readers will still find themselves smiling through the actions, progression and growth of the main characters, and will be eagerly awaiting the next installment in the series.