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Dead Man's Hand (The Caden Chronicles #1)
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Dead Man's Hand

(Monster Mysteries #1)

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  99 ratings  ·  39 reviews
It's All Just a Show...Right? 'This is an authentic old west ghost town, son. Around these parts the dead don't stay dead.' Nick Kindle's vacation at Deadwood Canyon Ghost Town takes a deadly turn toward trouble when the fifteen-year-old finds himself trapped in a livery stable with the infamous outlaw Jesse James. The shooter whirls, aims and... vanishes. Great theatrics, ...more
Paperback, 223 pages
Published October 28th 2012 by Zonderkidz (first published October 23rd 2012)
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Average rating 3.89  · 
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An unsolicited Advanced Reader Copy was provided by the publisher for review. Quotes have been pulled from an ARC and may be subject to change.

When Nick and his family are on a vacation to an out of sorts town in the middle of no-where’s-ville, he stumbles upon a mystery that needs to be solved. There is a murderer on the loose, and Nick is determined to find out who it is. His sleuthing skills are put to the test as he finds out who it is, and how they’re doing it.

Nick i
Jun 28, 2012 rated it liked it
I was provided a free ARC from Zondervan for reviewing purposes.

This book really surprised me. It's written for an audience that is younger than I usually read, yet it still ended up being a well-developed murder mystery. The beginning of the novel was very fast-paced and exciting, then slowed down a bit in the middle with all of the details of the investigation. Nevertheless, it is very well-written and easy to read (and enjoyable to read, actually).

The main character visits a tour
Brooke Banks
I won this as a First Reads giveaway. I was given an ARC. The only thing I felt cheated out of was the pictures that are suppose to be included. I could tell since there was place holder text at work. I would have loved to see those pictures. =(

For my star rating - I think this book is actually a 3.5 stars. However, I'm rounding up based on charity and benefit of the doubt. I mean this is a first book in a series which does avoid a lot of problems first books face and it is indeed an enjoyable good read. I wi
Paige Bradish
Jul 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviwed
I received Dead Man’s Hand by Eddie Jones from ZonderKidz publishing and this is my honest review.

Dead Man’s Hand is a story about a young boy named Nick Caden who thinks of himself as a detective. (his family and friends think otherwise) Anyways Nick and his family decide to go on vacation to Deadwood Canyon Ghost Town, which Nick isn’t too excited about until he is convinced that he has witnessed a murder in the towns barn. This causes Nick to want to investigate and that is exact
Patrice Hoffman
Aug 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
*Won ARC through Goodreads giveaway*

I am so surprised with this book. This book is categorized as young adult. I haven't read a young adult novel in a long time but as I read this book, I was pulled back into the days of my youth. The story is narrated by Nick Caden, Certified Cyber Sleuth. He's a bright, intelligent teen of fifteen years old who loves to solve mysteries. Luckily (rather unlukily), he's faced with his first real murder investigation. The murder of Billy the Kid.
Aug 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
I am reviewing a advanced reading copy provided by Zondervan via Goodreads first-reads.

A good ole wild west (kinda!) murder mystery aimed at young teens. Overall a good book but I had trouble relating to the main character Nick at the beginning of the book. Simply put, I just didn't believe him. Like the adults in the book, I found myself having trouble believing him and often wondered if it was some sort of elaborate hoax or customized vacation experience. Since the book is entirely
Miriam  Bradley
Jul 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The suspense dragged me in from the very beginning. As an aunt who buys books for her nephews, I was delighted to find a book I know they will love but holds firm to the truth. I appreciated how the author deals with a popular topic while maintaining good perspective. I'm excited to find a new author to pull from for those gift-giving occasions. Besides, I get to read them first!
Gina Holmes
Oct 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I grew up reading the Hardy Boys, and Eddie Jones' Dead Man's Hand reminds me a lot of those books. My son (10) read it and loved it. He called it a great ghost story with lots of action and adventure.
Sarah Grahamcracker
Sep 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I am reading this book aloud to my seventh grade english class and they absolutely love it. It is really intriguing and gets the childrens attention. (And mine) It is so hard not to read ahead because i am so engrossed in the book too!
Oct 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
She's Got Books on Her Mind

Nick's been dragged along to go on a family vacation to an old Wild West town where cowboy actors play the part of the most well know outlaws - Jessie James, Billy the Kid, Annie Oakley, and more. Nick's dreading hanging out in an old town where there is no cell reception, no internet, and surely there is nothing fun to do. That all changes when Nick discovers a dead body in a barn but when he goes to tell the marshal by the time the marshal sends someone out to c
Jun 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book was a very interesting teen mystery. I would recommend this book to teens and young adults. This book takes place in deadwood South Dakota and is about the murder mystery of Billy the Kid. Nick Caden finds a dead man in a shed a few miles out of town one day, he goes down into town and lets the sheriff and the marshal know what he witnessed. Neither one of those two people believed Nick. Nick decided to take matters in his own hands and try to find the person who convicted the murder. ...more
Patrick Cox
Oct 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Caden Chronicles series is clean, wholesome reading for boys with a spooky spiritual message.

This was actually a pretty good book. Nick is teen reporter Cool Ghoul Gazette. It's a group that watches murder mystery shows and then uses that to investigate and solve real crimes.

Nick and his family arrive in a old Ghost Town camp thinking he is going to be bored out of mind. Things quickly get exciting with a real life Ghost town who done it murder.

This book seems to be geared towa
Emily Rachelle
Sep 04, 2013 rated it liked it
I read this book as one of the five INSPY nominations for the Literature for Young Adults category. (I was one of three judges. It was great!)

Going in, I expected a lot from this book. First of all, it has a great cover, awesome back cover copy, and a lot of acclamations. Second of all, it's a middle grade mystery - before I widened my reading taste as a result of book blogging, that was my absolute favorite kind of book to read. While the book was pretty good, I was sad to discover
Eustacia Tan
Oct 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
This may not be a real cowboy western, but hey, it's set in one of those make-believe cowboy towns that I saw in the "Sweet Valley series" and that I always wanted to visit (whew, that's a long sentence).

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
Sandra Stiles
If you are looking for a great mystery for your tween/teen to read this summer then this book is the one for you. This is a book that both boys and girls will enjoy. Nick Caden is doomed to spend his summer vacation with his parents and his young sister Wendy at the Deadwood Canyon Ghost Town in Montana.
He can think of nothing more boring. It is supposed to be an old time western ghost town complete with cowboys, re-enactments and history lessons. To me this sounded wonderful. I live in Fl
Jill Williamson
Oct 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Review by Jill Williamson

Nick Caden and his family travel to Montana for a family vacation at Deadwood Canyon Ghost Town, where they’re entertained by such characters as Billy the Kid, Jesse James, and Annie Oakley. Nick would rather be in Las Vegas for a video game convention. But then Nick stumbles onto a dead body, and once he brings the sheriff back to the scene of the crime, the body is gone. Now no one will believe him. So it’s up to Nick to solve the crime himself—which is a h
Oct 24, 2012 rated it liked it

Dead Man's Hand is a fun teenager detective whose family goes on vacation in a Deadwood Canyon Ghost Town. He finds a billy dying from a gunshot but by the time he got the Sheriff to come the body disappeared.
Nick Caden is 15 year old whose hobby is solving crimes. Nick and his friends have got plots of detective shows on a computer farm. Then they take real cases and get the facts and the computer rates who likely the killer is.
Nick knows he saw a dead guy but no o
Nov 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviews
Eddie Jones’ Dead Man’s Hand is the first book in The Caden Chronicles. Readers are introduced to Nick Caden, a fifteen-year-old boy who has a knack for doing detective work. When he and his sister, Wendy, are dragged by their parents to Montana’s Deadwood Canyon Ghost Town for a wild-west adventurous vacation, he didn’t expect to be in a middle of a murder mystery when he stumbles onto a dead body. Calling the sheriff to investigate the scene, the body mysteriously disappears. Nick would rather ...more
May 12, 2015 added it
This book is about a boy named Nick Caden who is a detective and a member of a website called Cybersleuths. Cybersleuths is a website where members can investigate murders from movies or in this case real life. The setting is Deadwood Canyon where Caden family is taking a vacation. The draw to Deadwood Canyon is that it is a Hollywood style ghost town with shootouts, bank robberies, and more. Nick's family members are Frank the dad, Sylvia the mom, and Wendy the sister. Another character is Anni ...more
Majibookshelf Juhina & Farah
Nov 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Review written by Danna.
for more reviews visit: Maji Bookshelf

Woah. This is a really good murder mystery with a touch of romance. I loved it! It was an amazing read and kept me up all night. At first i kinda dragged my way through the book until a charecter died in the second chapter ( I flipped out a little and texted all my friend, none of which cared :) ), which was the problem in the plotline. I got all excited and pretty much plowed my way through the rest of the book ( getting
Oct 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Dead Man's Hand by Eddie Jones is a mystery adventure with biblical principles. The book is very well written and even I got lost in the story as I read it.

Instead of writing a review from an adult perspective, I had my 9 year old son read it and tell me what he thought. Thomas loves to read. He has read the first 3 Harry Potter books and is currently immersed in the adult Star Wars books. He was hesitant to read Dead Man's Hand because it was "too thin and not hard enough."
Oct 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
A YA mystery that will keep you reading until the last page!

The first in Eddie Jones' new series, The Caden Chronicles, we meet Nick Caden, a cyber super-sleuth. His parents have dragged Nick and his little sister, Wendy, to Deadwood for a wild-west adventurous vacation. To say the least, Nick would rather be in Vegas for a video game convention.

Man, this book is definitely a wild-west mystery! Complete with realistic gun fights, history lesson tours, and...oh yeah, a mur
Mar 27, 2013 rated it really liked it

Woah. This is a really good murder mystery with a touch of romance. I loved it! It was an amazing read and kept me up all night. At first i kinda dragged my way through the book until a charecter died in the second chapter ( I flipped out a little and texted all my friend, none of which cared :) ), which was the problem in the plotline. I got all excited and pretty much plowed my way through the rest of the book ( getting in quite a bit of trouble for not doing my homework :) ).

The characters
Feb 21, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: children-s-books, ya
Nick is being forced to spend a dreadful vacation with his family. But as they arrive he happens upon a dead body. When the police return the body is gone. Now the search is on to prove that he really saw someone before the vacation ends.

I'm not a huge fan of ghosts so was a bit unsure of what to expect. But I enjoyed this story. The characters are fun. The mystery of the missing man is full of clues and drama that keeps you entertained through out the book. The conclusion leaves th
Jean Wilund
Aug 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I am the mother of older children, so when I was given a copy of this book, I put it to the side to maybe read one day. However, I'd heard such praise for the author, that curiosity got the better of me, and I pulled the book out.

I discovered an exciting murder mystery, that -- thankfully -- left me uncertain as to who the killer was all the way up to the point when the killer is revealed. I was also relieved that it made sense. I worried it would be too far fetched, but it made complete sense.
Mary Hamilton
Oct 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Eddie Jones has written an exciting, fast-paced mystery that will appeal to tweens, especially boys who may be reluctant readers.
When Nick Caden's family vacations at an Old West resort with no TV, no computers, and no cell phone coverage, Nick expects to be bored to death. Instead, he finds a dead body in the stable. A dead body that disappears before anyone else can see it. Is it just an illusion, like everything else at this resort?
Nick knows what he saw and determines to find the
Nov 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
It was destined to be the worst family vacation ever. Five days at an authentic western town complete with guns, horses, and rattlesnakes spells totally boring for fifteen year-old Nick Caden.

The dead body he discovers puts a different spin on things. Nick spends the next few days chasing clues as he seeks the identity of the killer. Along the way, he learns about Biblical truths and a little bit about himself as well.

Eddie Jones has successfully crafted an engaging story that appeals to tween
Sammy Petrova
Jul 31, 2014 rated it liked it

3 STARS!!!!

Let's start from the cover: what a cute boy! Though it may be a small detail I appreciated!

I doubted that this was a book for children in cauusa of the topics, however I changed my mind. It's a book that I would gladly read to my son! I just found a little far-fetched Nick's reaction to the life of the dead bodies: a normal kid would not
Book Review originally published here:

When Nick and his family go on a holiday to an old west ghost town, they stumble upon a mystery that put Nick’s sleuthing abilities to a real test. I liked the set up of this novel – it was fairly original. Nick’s behavior is authnetic to teens, and the murder mystery was complex enough to hold my interest.
Sandra Hart
Feb 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
When teenager Nick Caden visits Deadwood Canyon Ghost Town on vacation, he has no idea the adventures that await him. Nick meets a girl named Annie Oakley who tries to help him find answers to a mysterious disappearance.Encounters with Wyatt Earp and Jesse James as well shootouts and bank robberies staged for the vacationer's enjoyment will keep teenaged boys - and girls - on the edge of their seat as Nick and Annie face danger from the killer.
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Eddie is Founder and CEO of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas and co-founder of Christian Devotions Ministries. He is also an award-winning novelist of middle-grade fiction for boys. If you have questions about the book publishing industry, the writing process, or any of my books, email Eddie at:

Other books in the series

Monster Mysteries (4 books)
  • Skull Creek Stakeout (The Caden Chronicles #2)
  • Dead Low Tide (The Caden Chronicles #3)
  • Rumor of a Werewolf
“A horn honked. And honked. And honked. Dad’s signal that the waiting game was finished. I took a final glance at the dead cowboy’s fixed eyes and bloody shirt and hurried down the steps, out of the barn, and toward the waiting stagecoach, certain of only one thing—this was going to be the best summer vacation ever.” 0 likes
“What do you mean there’s a dead cowboy in the barn?” 0 likes
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