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Paperny, Myra.

Toronto, Overlea House, 1988. 222pp. paper. ISBN 0-7172-2478-3 (cloth) $15.95, 0-7172-2479-1 (paper) $3.95. CIP

Grades 5 to 8
Reviewed by Joan Weller

Volume 17 Number 1
1989 January

In her latest novel Myra Paperny offers the "right stuff' for a "can't put it down" book. When eleven-year-old Cassandra flies from Toronto to Calgary for a long-awaited wilderness hike with her remarried father, she is not without some misgivings. Backpacking in the Rockies is exciting, but doing it along with her stepmother Joy and Jordie, Joy's outspoken thirteen-year-old son, is not what Cassie thinks of as fun. At this point in the novel natural dialogue balanced with appealing descriptions of the mountain setting and its wildlife keep the reader's attention. Now the foreboding and suspense come into play.

Forced to retreat to a mountain lodge when Joy hurts her foot, they find themselves among a mysterious set of strangers. Warned by the warden of a ruthless gang of poachers in the area, the two young protagonists get caught up in solving the crimes. Here Cassie shows herself to be sensitive towards nature, especially the endangered animals. Action-packed events follow the conservation-minded young sleuths as they corner and capture the poachers.

Paperny shows herself to be a master of atmosphere and setting as she describes in careful detail their escape from their pursuers through mountain passes. Just enough clues help readers solve the mystery along with Cassie and Jordie. The mystery behind them, they come to terms with their budding friendship and the new dimensions of their family life. Nightmare Mountain is a journey which takes them closer to the brink of adolescence in this mystery with a message.

Highly recommended.

Joan Weller, Ottawa Public Library, Ottawa, Ont.
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