The Dead Man in Indian Creek, Mary Downing Hahn (Reflection)

Oct 5, 2011
by: 15TanN

I have completed the fictional mystery book, "The Dead Man in Indian Creek". It is 130 pages long, and I have already made one previous response for this novel.

Summary: "The Dead Man in Indian Creek" focuses on the experiences and events that are triggered by young adults Matthew Armentrout and Parker Pettengill after they find a dead body while on a camping trip at Indian Creek. The boys immidiately start an investigation on their owns after the gruesome discovery, and quickly suspect Parker's mother's boss, George Evans, to be the killer. They snoop around, but don't find any sustainable evidence until Halloween night. In Evans' antique shop, Matt and Parker overhear the suspect with his associate Flynn, and Pam, Parker's mother. They discuss Dawson, (supposedly the man left at Indian Creek), and dolls from the shop. Parker himself had taken a doll before, and discovered that it contained cocaine. With this information, the boys tried to get away from the place and find the police. They could only avoid Evans and Flynn for so long, though, and were eventually captured by the two. But, the friends managed to escape with the help of Parker's dog, and frantically told the authorities everything. The ending was bittersweet, with Parker's mom having the possibility for jail time, but Parker being able to stay with Matt.

Important thing I learned/remembered: I particularly liked the scene where Otis, Parker's dog, pounced on Flynn before he had a chance to fire his gun.

Why I liked it: I liked this part because it was very suspenseful and unexpected. While I did have a feeling that Flynn was going to be stopped somehow, I never predicted that the dog would do the work. The action was swift, and the responses of the characters afterwards were decisive. Both boys quickly escaped, and Parker soon trapped the evil man once he had the advantage. It was quite the heroic situation, and would have probably generated cheers in a movie theater.

Meaning of the book: I believe that this book's meaning is to expect the unexpected. Matt's mother frequently states in the story things like how that their small town wasn't dangerous and how most people felt that crimes or conspiracies wouldn't be nearby, when in reality, drugs and death was surrounding the community. And, no one besides Matt initially believes Parker's opinion that Evans had been linked to the crime, further supporting the idea of the ignorance in disbelief. It is always important to be aware of all details and possible occurences, no matter how trivial they seem at first.

Reccommendation: This book was somewhat entertaining, but isn't for everybody. The story was intersting at the beginning, but it lost speed at the middle until the climax. Most of the characters weren't bad; I liked Parker's personality and his mother's uniqueness. However, Matt, the main character, was too much of a sterotypical "loser lead" that is found commonly in young adult fictions. Also, (though this is more of a personal dislike), I'm not that big a fan of small mystery novels, so I wasn't too happy finishing the fast-paced book. All in all, I feel that "The Dead Man in Indian Creek" isn't bad, but rather that it just doesn't contain anything spectacular. In other words, I would mildly reccomend this novel, as there are much better mysteries out there.