Dead Man's Hand is the first in the series of The Caden Chronicles, which I'm guessing is a mystery series. In this book, Nick Caden, our protagonist, is at a family vacation in Deadwood Canyon Ghost Town. He's just arrived when he finds the dead body of Billy the Kid. BUT, when he alerts the sheriff, the body's gone! And thanks to an agreement between the Sheriff and his father, Nick's allowed to investigate - under certain conditions.
I suppose that since this was the author's first book, he's still getting into the hang of things. My biggest problem with the book was the narration. It's told in first-person form, but somehow, it doesn't feel right. I remember being fourteen, and while I wasn't that mature, I didn't remember being so bratty. Honestly, I'll believe it if Nick was like, ten. I'm not sure why, it was just a feeling I got.
The plot was, ok. Nothing spectacular, but it's about the same as most YA mystery novels. I'm already thinking of re-reading the book to see what clues I missed, because the culprit was nothing like I expected.
Finally, the whole spirit/death theme. I think, that the book may have overemphasised the whole spiritual thing in the blurb, because it felt like this was added in last minute. Sure, there was the mysterious Bible with the relevant versus highlighted (and props to the author for doing what Chesterton suggested and making the familiar seem unfamiliar), but I don't recall it helping the plot in a noticable way. And why did Nick suddenly want to investigate the mystery of Jesus?
But I think, the whole review can be summed up in this - I read the book in one sitting. That should tell you how compelling it is.
Disclaimer: I received a free book from the publisher in exchange for a free and honest review.