Having reviewed a Mississippi girl book early in July, it seems only fair to review a Mississippi boy book in early August – not that both books can’t be enjoyed by both sexes. Hideoutby Watt Key takes place in south Mississippi rather than smack dab in the middle.
A bit of Sam’s problem is foreshadowed early on soon after his father, seemingly clueless that he hates fishing, gives him a fishing boat. “Dad is chief of police for Pascagoula, and he’d made sure I had every possible safety item. The only thing I didn’t have was his permission to leave Bluff Creek.”
Sam may not be intrigued with fishing, but he is absorbed with the rumors of a dead body out in the swamp. As expected, Sam goes farther and farther in his search until more than safety items are needed. He disappears for hours looking through the swamp and runs across Davey, a boy with a strange tale who may or may not have been abandoned in the woods. His efforts to help bring on little white lies to his parents and their policeman friend that become darker and bigger until both boys are in serious danger.
Watt Key’s ability to take the reader into the bayou with all their senses comes from his own growing up years right across the border in its Alabama stretch. Much of the marketing for the book notes its appeal for the reluctant middle grade reader, but it also appeals to an eager reader who loves a good mysterious adventure in the surroundings of nature.