The Book of Mormon Sleuth 5: The Secret Mission

The Secret Mission

Back Cover Text

   Click. I was surprised to hear the doors close behind us. I turned to look at them. As I reached for them I was even more surprised to hear the locks turn and click.

   I pulled on the door handles, but nothing happened.

   “We’re locked in!” I said, rattling the door handles.

   Jeff grabbed one of the door handles with one hand and started pounding on the door with the other. The doors hardly moved. This was the first time that I noticed how big and heavy they were. They were not like the hollow, flimsy doors at our house. I think I could have easily broken through those if I had to. But not these; they felt like solid wood.

   “Hey! we both started yelling. “Let us out of here!”

   Jeff continued to pound his fist on the door and yell, but I gave up after a few seconds. I started wondering who it was that we were hoping would hear us and let us out.

   Why did a first-edition Book of Mormon wind up in an old Catholic mission in San Diego? What clues does it contain to a mysterious past? And why is Dr. Anthony interested?
   The Andrews family is off on another exciting quest, this time to sunny southern California, where Brandon and his siblings must follow clues found in the scriptures to solve a century-old mystery.
   Volume five of The Book of Mormon Sleuth series, The Secret Mission, is filled with exciting adventures, new friends, and old foes.

Book Review

Reviewed by Jamie Reynolds
Published by Association for Mormon Letters

Brandon Andrews is having nightmares. Okay, perhaps it would be more accurate to say that Brandon Andrews is having a nightmare, over and over and over again. A chance encounter in a grocery store with a crotchety old man has been taking over Brandon’s nighttime musings. In this dream, the man from the grocery store consistently morphs into Mr. Omni, a man whom Brandon sees as a nemesis from his past.

As Brandon strives to overcome his fears and the sleep deprivation that they are causing, Mr. Andrews calmly announces to the family that the time has come to take their next family vacation. In most families this would be a cause of great excitement and anticipation. Unfortunately, as Brandon says, “My dad is awesome. That said, I know of two areas where he is totally lacking. The first is his ability to show compassion when I am in distress (which is why I hadn’t yet bothered to tell him about my nightmares). The second is that he has absolutely no idea how to do a normal family vacation.”

As most of his children watch him in dread-filled silence, Mr. Andrews explains that he has received a phone call from Mr. Omni. He has requested that the entire family come to stay with him at his cottage for a week in Southern California. As the family will later learn, Mr. Omni has been excavating some ruins and has found an old copy of the Book of Mormon and an old journal that belonged to the catholic priest who lived there in the 1800’s. The priest had received the Book of Mormon as a gift from a member of the Mormon Battalion. These things become the opening clues in a story that will carry the Andrews family in general, Brandon and his brother, Jeff, in particular, through yet another vacation filled with mystery and mayhem.

As the Andrews family seeks out information on the Mormon Battalion, Brandon and Jeff spot the evil Dr. Anthony. They give chase and, for their efforts, are locked in a small filing room at the Mormon Battalion Visitor’s Center. It doesn’t take long for Brandon to connect Dr. Anthony with Mr. Omni, a fact that only increases his horror at being on this vacation.

As the mystery deepens, the reader is drawn into the story and allowed to solve the riddle of the past and answer the questions of the present. It is often said that those who don’t understand history are doomed to repeat it. In his book, The Book of Mormon Sleuth, The Secret Mission, C.B. Andersen does an excellent job of weaving past and present together, fictionalized though it may be. C.B. Andersen shows just how inextricably linked the past and present are. At the same time, there are gospel lessons woven subtly throughout the entire book. The reader gets a refresher course on the Articles of Faith and just how they apply to daily life.

The Secret Mission is written well enough that one does not need to be familiar with the previous books in this series in order to enjoy reading this one. It is easy to follow and is really very much its own book. This book is definitely geared toward youth of the Latter-day Saint persuasion. It is told from their perspective. However, most LDS young adults and adults will find this very enjoyable as well. Early in the book, the storyline did get somewhat bogged down by the consistent revulsion that Brandon feels for Mr. Omni, especially once Dr. Anthony comes into the picture. It would be nice in future books to see the author lean less heavily on this. However, overall, this book flowed very well, had a great storyline and was just a fun read. I look forward to reading more books in this series.

Reviewed: 4 June 2008      Copyright © 2000 Jamie Reynolds