‘Addison Cooke and the Treasure of the Incas’ by Jonathan W. Stokes: Indiana Jones for middle grade readers


Is Addison Cooke the new Indiana Jones for middle school kids? In “Addison Cooke and the Treasure of the Incas,” Jonathan W. Stokes seems to be using all his screenwriting skills to create an action story that would be movie-perfect.

Addison Cooke’s life is not an ordinary one. He and his sister Molly live with their archaeologist aunt and uncle in New York after their parents were killed while they were on a research job. Archaeology is in the Cooke blood, and Addison is not immune. His spare time is spent studying whatever culture his aunt and uncle are researching.

Addison’s uncle finds a stone key that legend says will lead to the treasure of an Inca King. When his aunt and uncle are kidnapped by a dangerous criminal who wants the treasure, Addison is convinced that he, Molly, and his two best friends are the only ones who can rescue them.

Conveniently, Eddie and Raj, his friends, are both talented in necessary skills. Eddie speaks Spanish courtesy of his nanny, and Raj has practiced his survival skills and is prepared for almost any event. Molly is brave and athletic, and Addison is brilliant.

Organizing a trip to Columbia, through Ecuador and on to Peru is nothing for a brain of Addison’s caliber. And the adventures and hair-raising danger they encounter on the way? Definitely not for the faint of heart. The humor that is infused on almost every page makes Stokes’ writing stand out from other middle grade adventures. With Addison Cooke, he has created a pre-teen cross between Indiana Jones and James Bond, suave and debonair (“Addison dearly loved a black-tie gala. He knew how to match his tie knot to the width of his shirt collar. He knew how to match the width of his tie to the width of his lapels…”). Yet Addison Cooke can also scheme and lie to get what he wants (first-class upgrade from coach, anyone?).

This is a perfect choice for reluctant readers, for movie lovers, for adventure-loving readers — in short, everyone. Get in now with this first book in what should prove to be an exciting adventure series. Read the sequel, “Addison Cooke and the Tomb of the Khan.

Please note: This review is based on the final, hardcover book provided by the publisher, Philomel, for review purposes.

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