For Ed Bell, commercial fishing is more than a way to make a living. It is the core of his life, the shape of his identity, the substance of his self-respect. But he is a man caught in a conflict: As the New England fishing industry slips to the brink of extinction, Bell clings to his way of life even as it jeopardizes his relationship with his wife, his children, and his father. Salt Luck is the story of a man’s struggle to regain control over his life as it unravels around him. It is a cautionary tale of the consequences of obsession and self-absorption, a tightening spiral of suspense and adventure that accelerates toward a final confrontation at sea between Bell and his fate.
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Every year, high-school-student Luke and his family go on a summer sailing trip on their small boat, Piper. This year is different, though: Luke's beloved older sister is overseas, and their mother leaves the family the night before the sailing trip. Luke and his father decide to make the voyage anyway, but they are both angry and confused and make a series of bad decisions with disastrous results: Luke's dad is swept overboard during a storm, leaving Luke alone on Piper in the Gulf Stream, where he has never sailed before. The text abounds in sailing lingo, and nonsailors may get bogged down in the details. Young boating fans, though, will be happy to find a story that takes their obsession seriously. Readers interested in the arts will also connect with the story. Luke and his family are all artists, and Moodie writes beautifully about an artist's vision. The colors and moods of the sea feel like additional characters in this unusual novel that is combines a gripping survival story with a contemplative family drama.
- Carton, Debbie.
Eddie Atwell's family has been trapping lobsters for years on Fog Island, MA. Lately someone has been stealing their catch. The whole book takes place in 24 hours. While fishing one morning at 5:01 a.m., the 12-year-old comes across the lobster thief's trap. Before he knows it, the culprits see his boat and take off with it. Unbeknown to them, Eddie happens to see who they are. He starts to wonder how he is going to bring them down, but first he needs to figure out how to get back to land. Lucky for him, Briggs Fairchild, a 13-year-old runaway from a sailing camp nearby, shows up. He is being bullied by one of the counselors, who happens to be one of the thieves. Together the boys embark on a wild adventure and almost risk their lives, all in the name of saving lobsters. Into the Trap is unbelievable at times, because some of the situations seem too far-fetched. However, it is an action-packed tale with boat chases that may appeal to some boys.
- Shannon Seglin, Patrick Henry Library, Vienna, VA
A true summer adventure
Vampires, ghosts, wizards, angelsthey're hard to escape in books these days. But every once in a while, a kid longs for an old-fashioned summer adventure story, which is exactly what Craig Moodie delivers in his exciting new novel, Into the Trap.
Eddie Atwell is the 12-year-old son of a lobster fisherman on Fog Island. The local lobstermen are being hit by a series of thefts: Nearly 10,000 pounds of lobster have disappeared from fishermen's holding areas. Meanwhile, Eddie's father is laid up with a shoulder injury. Eddie wants to help out by catching some striped bass, even though he's not supposed to go out fishing alone.
That's how Eddie finds himself on Greenhead Island early one August morning, staring with shock into a tidal pool full of stolen lobsters. Eddie manages to hide from the two thieves who come to check their cache, but he recognizes their voices. One is Jake Daggett, his sister's boyfriend. What's worse, Jake recognizes Eddie's skiff, and he and the other thief, Marty, take it, leaving Eddie stranded.
Luckily for Eddie, an unlikely rescuer is at hand. Briggs Fairfield, a rich, nerdy New York kid who's AWOL from a nearby sailing camp, is happy to have Eddie aboard. Eddie doesn't think he and this rich kid have much in commonuntil he realizes that the camp counselor who has been tormenting Briggs is none other than Marty, one of the lobster thieves. Eddie and Briggs decide to join forces to rescue the lobsters and bring the thieves to justice.
Full of sailing lore and page-turning excitement, Into the Trap is the perfect book to stick into a duffel bag for a young camperalong with a flashlight for reading under the folds of a sleeping bag.
- Review by Deborah Hopkinson
The Atwell family has hit a hard patch. Dad needs to go off island for shoulder surgery just when their lobster catches (and those of their neighbors) are being routinely stolen before they can be brought to market. Twelve-year-old Eddie feels the possibility of making a little extra money by catching striped bass is worth the risk of disobeying his father's orders to stay ashore, and while out on an early morning jaunt on the family's boat, Eddie stumbles upon the lobster thieves and their cache. Before he can clearly plan his next move, he's called upon to rescue Briggs Fairfield, a well-to-do young teen who is running away from summer sailing camp. A bargain is struck: if Briggs will help Eddie offload the purloined crustaceans, Eddie will ferry Briggs over to the mainland. The boys' adventures, based on the perennial premise that kids should not alert the authorities or seek professional help, will surprise nobody. What sets the novel apart from similar offerings is the tidy compression of events into a precise twenty-six hour and twelve minute time frame, and the contrast between plainspoken, assertive Eddie and formally eloquent, game but bumbling Briggs. The nonstop action clocks in at just under two hundred pages, making this a fine quick pick for readers with places to go and things to do.
Daring tale of suspenseful adventure
Into the Trap, written by Craig Moodie, is a suspenseful book that tells the daring tale of two boys who save their fishing community in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
Since he was born, 12-year-old Eddie Atwell has lived in the small seafaring world of Fog Island, Massachusetts. He wants to follow the path of his forefathers by becoming a lobster trapper. But Eddie's career dreams are jeopardized when a wave of robberies lead to thousands of lobsters being stolen from many Fog Island lobstermen, including Eddie's father.
When Eddie stumbles into the hidden location of the lobsters on the nearby Greenhead Island, he knows that he must take back the lobsters to save his family's business. On Greenhead Island, Eddie meets the 13-year-old New York rich kid Briggs Fairfield, who has fled the nearby sailing camp because one counselor was bullying him. Soon after, this motley duo embarks on a perilous adventure around Fog Island, hoping to return the stolen lobsters to the lobstermen and to bring the thieves to justice.
Craig Moodie, a native of Franklin, Massachusetts, incorporates his vast knowledge of Massachusetts fishing into this inventive, action-packed, and humorous novel. Moodie emphasizes the courage of Eddie and Briggs by making the creative decision to have the story take place over 24 hours. While the boys are racing to retrieve the stolen lobsters, nearly everyone on Fog Island is hunting them, including the lobster bandits. At the same time, Moodie adds many comical scenes that enrich the personalities of the characters.
Readers can easily relate to both Eddie and Briggs. Eddie looks up to his father, and he frequently considers what his father would do if he were in Eddie's position. Briggs, on the other hand, is a great role model for those who are afraid of taking a risk to achieve success. Readers will be amused by the constant squabbling between Eddie and Briggs and will be surprised at how the squabbling actually strengthens their friendship.
Although Into the Trap is a fictional novel, it highlights many real-life aspects of fishing, sailing, and living in a New England fishing village. Fog Island isn't a real place, but it's reminiscent of many modern fishing communities on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Readers who are unknowledgeable about nautical terminology (i.e. starboard, stay, bearing, and beam) may have some difficulty understanding certain descriptive paragraphs, but the language does not pose a problem in the reader's understanding of the plot.
Whether the reader is a sailor or not, Into the Trap is a must-read because of its compelling themes of determination and family loyalty, as well as because of its detailed depiction of New England culture.