Published by HarperCollins
Summary: What if all the sightings of Bigfoot, the Loch Ness monster, and other cryptids were the elaborate work of two hoaxing families? That’s the premise for this story about the McNeils, one of the families who has been investigating cryptozoology for decades–and staging elaborate hoaxes to fund their research. Youngest son Grayson McNeil is sick of the whole business, and is secretly applying to a boarding school where he can indulge his passion for photography, and maybe get his work in the public eye instead of always sneaking around like his father, grandfather, and older brother Curtis. But when the other hoaxing family, the Gerhards, kidnap Dad and Gramps just as they are about to complete a big (and well-paying) job, it’s up to Grayson and Curtis to save the day. The Gerhards are hot on their heels, though, including a well-placed spy from Grayson’s school, and it’s a race against time to try to finish up the job. As their family’s history is on the brink of collapse, Grayson begins to understand why the McNeils have pursued their secret work and to think he may just be one of them after all. 320 pages; grades 3-7.
Pros: There’s always lots of interest in mysterious creatures like Bigfoot, and this is a book that would be easy to book talk. There’s plenty of humor and intrigue, and readers will enjoy the behind-the-scenes look at some of the hoaxes.
Cons: There were quite a few flashback scenes at the beginning of the story that could be confusing to readers and made it a little slow going to get into the book.