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The Weirdo    by Theodore Taylor order for
by Theodore Taylor
Order:  USA  Can
Harcourt, 2006 (1991)
Hardcover, Paperback

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* * *   Reviewed by Lyn Seippel

Samantha Sanders is nine years old when she finds a dead body across the road from her house on the edge of the Powhatan Swamp. The murderer is never found.

Seven years later Sam is forced to enter the dreaded swamp to find a runaway champion hunting dog belonging to her uncle. Not able to find Buckie before darkness falls, Sam hides in the trunk of a tree to wait for morning. Once again she witnesses a ghastly scene. Someone is carrying a body to the sand suck where it will never be seen again.

When daylight comes, Sam manages to find the house of an artist who lives in the swamp with his secretive son. Because of his horrific scars, Chip Clewt, called Weirdo by most folks, avoids people, but he and Sam become friends.

Chip knows a lot about the swamp and works with a young graduate student to observe and tag the bears. The hunters believe the data gathered will result in hunting bans. When the graduate student disappears, Sam and Chip join forces to find the murderer.

Taylor combines mystery, romance, and environmentalism to weave a strong suspenseful tale that won the Edgar Award for Best Young Adult Mystery.

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