Best 2000 Adventures (10)
November 29, 2020
One in a series of 10 posts identifying Josh Glenn’s favorite 2000 adventure novels.
Tim Wynne-Jones’s YA mystery The Boy in the Burning House.
Young Jim Hawkins, who lives on a farm in rural Canada with his mother, is still struggling to come to terms with his father Hub’s disappearance, over a year earlier; supposedly, he killed himself — but Jim doesn’t believe it. Then the disturbed stepdaughter of Father Fisher, the charismatic pastor of Jim’s church, turns up at the farm and tells him that “Father” — who’d been a childhood friend of Hub’s — is a killer. Jim begins to snoop around, and learns that Hub and Fisher were somehow involved with the death of a local young man, who thirty years earlier was trapped in the titular burning house. Although we never really doubt that Rose is telling the truth, it’s a tense, atmospheric story with a terrifying villain. PS: Although our protagonist shares the name of the hero of Treasure Island, the book’s scary ending — set in a maze-like cave — is more reminiscent of the Injun Joe section of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.
Fun facts: Winner of the Edgar Award for Best YA Mystery.
JOSH GLENN’S *BEST ADVENTURES* LISTS: BEST 250 ADVENTURES OF THE 20TH CENTURY | 100 BEST OUGHTS ADVENTURES | 100 BEST RADIUM AGE (PROTO-)SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST TEENS ADVENTURES | 100 BEST TWENTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST THIRTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST GOLDEN AGE SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST FORTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST FIFTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST SIXTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST NEW WAVE SCI FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST SEVENTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST EIGHTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST DIAMOND AGE SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST NINETIES ADVENTURES | NOTES ON 21st-CENTURY ADVENTURES.