Spring break turns out to be anything but that for Jason and Daniel. They agree to help their friend Richard Liu and his father Junjie try and figure out what is going on at his father’s work place, the DCC Chip Company, which has been recently plagued by hijackings of their new line of computer chips. Richard is worried that the company will go out of business and his family will lose everything if something isn’t done to stop the thefts. While looking for a young friend, Jason and Daniel stumble onto what appears to be another hijacking of DCC chips. Convinced that the thefts must be an inside job, Jason and Daniel pose as reporters from their high school newspaper to tour the plant and meet the employees.
The second element of the story starts with the urgent and desperate plea of Teresa Barnwell, a young girl living in a foster home. She asks Jason to visit Camp Chinquapin, a boot camp for teenagers where Timothy Wilkinson, a mutual friend of theirs, has been sent. Teresa is convinced that Tim is being mistreated at the camp. In the past two weeks he has disappeared from the camp roster, all mail to him as been returned, and his parents were told that he has been sent to anger management training. The boys then travel up to the Yosemite area with their friend and advisor Joe Connor who is remodeling a cabin home he owns near the park. They are planning to hike around Yosemite and help out Joe. When kids at the camp confirm that Tim and another kid named Cody did not get along with the camp authorities, were constantly being treated harshly, and believe that the two have been taken somewhere to be forced into submission, Jason and Daniel mount an all out campaign to find Tim and Cody before serious harm comes to them. This turns into one of the most interesting cases for Jason's Whatever Foundation, when they meet up with Martin Severino and Dominic Sanchez, two ex Navy SEALs who agree to help them out. Later they team up with Captain Garcia of the Silicon Valley Police to smoke out the criminals in the DCC case. 300 pages, with 49 full color illustrations and graphics.
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Two stories blended into one entanglement of criminals and close escapes
By the time hungry readers pick up When the Chips Are Down, the third book in the Hunter & Holmes series, teen hobby detectives Jason Hunter and Daniel Holmes have been rightfully established as an unstoppable and dynamic force. When millions of dollars worth of top-of-the-line computer chips are hijacked from the Silicon Valley, it comes as no surprise that the Hunter & Holmes detective team is sought out to crack the case. But before they can manage a solid start, another case is sprung upon them, turning their spring break into a search and rescue mission at a boot camp thought to be mistreating young boys. Jason and Daniel plan to serve a “one-two-three-four punch” to all offenders, but this is no easy feat. With two ever-changing stories blended into one entanglement of criminals and close escapes, readers will learn, in the words of Jason, that it truly is darkest before the dawn.
Jason and Daniel again demonstrate how to be the right kind of heroes by setting a positive example of loyalty, openness, and paying it forward. Jason and Daniel’s manner of addressing each case provides even more examples of positive behavior to readers. The boys take on each case in a logical, outlined fashion. As discussed, they have learned their own limitations and therefore readily call on the help of adult figures. They demonstrate responsibility, planning, and the importance of being mindful of safety. Furthermore, Jason often formulates his detective decisions based on intuition. He has a keen sense of right and wrong, and always chases after his gut feelings. Jason is a role model in the way he bravely yet humbly takes on each crime, always stretching an open hand to strangers or those younger than him.
Techniques in story development and writing style maintain reader attention as the series progresses. The writing technique provokes interest by jumping from story to story, and often ending chapters with an ominous teaser sentence. Jason and Daniel also continue to call on their connection to Joe Connor and the newly promoted Captain Garcia, both of whom expand the boys’ network to television journalist Jaime Orlando as well as two retired NAVY Seals. The impressive and varied web of resources available to Jason and Daniel allows the series to advance with more professional gadgets, ideas, and reinforcement, which leads to intriguing plot capabilities. The same story is never told twice in the Hunter & Holmes series, all due to this building technique.
Throughout the chaos, Daniel and Jason still call themselves “normal teenagers.” They participate in school activities, hang by the pool with their girlfriends, and take time to relax over a game of basketball. With these reality checks tied into their adventures, the Hunter & Holmes team only grows in appeal as the series continues.
Let the chips fall where they may
It’s never long before Jason Hunter and Daniel Holmes are called upon to help a community in need, and this time it’s two! Right before spring break, their friend and neighbor Richard Liu requests their help in solving several crimes committed against his father’s company, the DCC Chip Company. With Richard being a long time friend to Jason, the Hunter & Holmes team is quick to get involved. Before they get too deep into the case, the teenagers plan to blow off some steam by playing baseball with Justin Thorne, a young boy whose father helped Jason during a previous case. But when Justin goes missing, Jason and Daniel’s detective skills are put to the test sooner than they expected.
Before they can crack the corporate case, they must go to camp, but not for a good time. During one of his Converse giveaway projects, Jason is approached by Teresa Barnwell with a favor. Having heard of Jason’s abilities, she asks him to see about her friend Tim Wilkinson, who was taken to a behavioral boot camp called to Camp Chinquapin a few months back. Jason agrees to look into it and the more he finds out, the more he is willing to do whatever it takes to save Tim and make sure justice is served. With information about both cases gathered, the boys head to Yosemite with their skilled friend and constant detective aid Joe Connor to check out the suspicious camp. What Jason and Daniel discover is quite shocking.
As the story unfolds, Jason and Daniel are once again facing vicious criminals around every corner. From cases involving Camp Chinquapin to the DCC Chip Company, Jason and Daniel are in for one busy spring break. And with the clock ticking, Jason must summon his courage, quick thinking, and all the resources he can muster from his Whatever Foundation. But will they be enough to save himself and his friends and put these drawn out cases to rest?
In this novel, Vaughan takes the reader on a journey through the psychological affects of child abuse and neglect at the hands of parents and other authority figures. He stresses the need for proper communication and treatment to prevent and counteract such devastating events. He also illustrates the importance of helping others and the benefits that come with that type of positive behavior. The openness, selflessness and consequential fortuitousness of the young but talented Hunter & Holmes team is definitely proof that they are a model for young readers to follow.