Editorial Review: The Local Legend of Iron River by William Mierzejewski

Editorial Review: The Local Legend of Iron River by William Mierzejewski

Ten-year-old Liam is terrified when he sees what appears to be a beast outside his window while at his family's vacation home. The grown-ups all believe it was his imagination, but when the threat becomes real, Liam, his sister Boo, and their friends set out to solve the mystery.
The Local Legend of Iron River is the first book in the Liam and Boo series by William Mierzejewski. The novel is aimed at young adolescents and is mainly set in the small summer town of Iron River, Michigan. The story opens with a ten-year-old Liam being woken by a chilling howl outside his bedroom window at the family's vacation home. He is terrified to discover that a beast with piercing yellow eyes is staring back at home, but of course, all the grown-ups think it is just his imagination. Liam struggles to forget the encounter, even though his parents think it is simply a black bear or grey wolf from the forest next to the town. 

During the next visit to the vacation home, Liam is accompanied by two friends, Ryan and Robert. When they arrive at Iron River, they also encounter Mike and Rita, the grandchildren of their vacation home neighbors. Liam is still very uneasy about the creature he saw, and his worst fears are confirmed when Mike informs them about his grandfather's disappearance during a hunting trip in the area. Since the police are at a loss about what happened, Mike is determined to do some investigating of his own, and Liam's group is eager to assist. Soon Liam, Boo, Ryan, Robert, Mike, and Rita make some shocking discoveries about a primal evil that has been plaguing the area. When even the police are unable to stop the beast, the kids take matters into their own hands and head into the wilderness to seek assistance from the native tribes. 

The Local Legend of Iron River is a brisk read that wastes no time getting to the good stuff. Readers are introduced to Liam and his eight-year-old sister, Boo, who are the main characters of what promises to be an exciting series. Although the adventure is fictional, the author has used his own children as the main characters. While most of the story is told from Liam's perspective, readers also get to see how events unfold from the viewpoints of a few other characters. These include Larry, one of the beast's first victims, Liam and Boo's parents, the Iron River chief of police, and members of the native tribes. Chapters are short and to the point, with plenty of action and intrigue to keep readers turning the pages. 

Although written with adolescent readers in mind, The Local Legend of Iron River is still an engaging story with plenty of intriguing elements. Older readers will quickly see where the story is headed, but this doesn't detract from the enjoyment at all. The last few chapters are especially nail-biting as the author doesn't pull any punches regarding casualties. There's nothing too extreme as far as violence and gore are concerned, but the beast featured in the tale definitely has no qualms about killing indiscriminately.    

Overall, The Local Legend of Iron River is a great start to the series and will quickly draw readers into its suspenseful tale. Since it is the first book in the series, it also does an excellent job of introducing readers to the characters and making them care about what happens to them. Thankfully, the story is neatly wrapped up in the end, with no dangling plotlines or cliffhangers, which is very satisfying. If this first novel is anything to go by, then readers are in for a treat when it comes to the future adventures of Liam and Boo.