It's Up To Charlie Hardin
Baen, Feb 3 2015, $16.99
During WWII in Austin, with school out for summer, the parents of twelve year old Charlie Hardin admonish him to stay out of trouble. “Captain” Charlie, his dog Lint and his best human friend Aaron Fischer fight Nazis though their older adversary Jackie Rhett would adamantly disagree as to who the American is and who the Axis is. Charlie and Aaron agree that Jackie is a momzer though the Captain has no idea what the Yiddish word means.
Charlie and Aaron get into an egg war with Ray Kinney and Jackie, but an innocent bystander Felice Gutierrez gets hit; so all the boys are in trouble. When a nasty neighbor threatens Lint, Charlie creates a pumpkin slingshot to keep his BFF safe. After dispatching the ghost in the pipe, their adventures leads Charlie and Aaron to a Nazi counterfeiting operation and a search for missing enemy Jackie. All this and more occur in Texas in the summer of 1942.
Targeting tweeners, WWII (on the home front) readers and Mark Twain fans, this droll homage to Tom Sawyer is an amusing look at life in 1940s Austin through the eyes of a young boy. Consisting of a series of short adventures, readers will appreciate the escapades of Charlie and company though the protagonist’s relating them to the audience at times makes the exploits seem passive.