After being shuffled through the foster care system for most of his young life, Gabe finally finds a home with his crabby old Uncle Vernon, a Vietnam war veteran and recluse. For the first time, Gabe feels loved and secure...until he discovers his uncle's dead body lying in the floor after school one day. Partly consumed with grief and partly scared of what will happen once someone discovers his death, Gabe tries to act as if nothing has happened. Two days later, the body disappears from the house and Gabe begins receiving strange correspondence in his mailbox. Someone knows what happened.
I very much liked this story despite the fact that 6th grade Gabe seemed more too immature for his age and some of his actions seem unlikely in a real world scenario. Still, I was able to suspend my disbelief and enjoy the story. There are many themes including family, friendship, loyalty, respect, and self-sufficiency. Due to some of the details about war and death, I probably would recommend it to 6th graders+ (though my daughter recommended this book to me after she read it as a 5th grader). Young readers will probably not understand the references to Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men or other classic literature that is mentioned, nor will they completely comprehend some of the discussions on the Vietnam War, but it will not prevent them from understanding and enjoying the overall story.