Monday, August 8, 2016

Sign of the Green Dragon by C. Lee McKenzie

Happy Monday! I have a guest blog on writing blurbs as couplets (you didn't know about this trend?) over at Lori MacLaughlin's Writing, Reading, and the Pursuit of Dreams. She is the author of the fantasy novel, Trouble by Any Other Name.


Today, I'm featuring another blogger's book, something appealing to the young, young-at-heart, or fans of the movie The Goonies. I'm talking about . . .

I read C. Lee McKenzie's newest middle grade novel this past weekend. This fast-paced tale follows the adventures of Sam, Joey, and Roger as they hunt for treasure in a small California mining-turned-tourist town.

What sets these three on their quest? Well, Sam's in a bind. His not-so-nice uncle (who gives Sam the attic space above the garage as a bedroom) wants to ship him off to boarding school. That would be a disaster. Sam's skills are essential to help the boys' baseball team win the big game.

What can they do? Well, hide Sam in a cave, of course! After surviving an minor earthquake, they discover a hidden chest in this cave decorated with a carving of a dragon with jeweled eyes. Inside the chest, they find a skeleton and a letter about avenging the death of poisoned Mei Ling and buried treasure somewhere around the town of Trent. 

Figuring a load of money would help Sam stay in town, the three take a bus to Trent and get mixed up with a nosy sheriff, a high-strung museum owner, an artist, and the artist's great uncle while they search for clues.

One of my favorite parts was the description of the artist's house, literally carved into a mountain. It had a huge fireplace, staircases wandering here, there, and everywhere, and even a white water river roaring outside the kitchen windows into a deep canyon. 

Image: Ken Lund

Here are some images from caves around the world to give you an idea of what this home might look like:

Image: Kent Kanouse

The unique setting, plot twists, and supernatural elements in Sign of the Green Dragon all work together to create an engaging story. 

Have you ever visited a cave? Do you remember The Goonies?


  1. I'd live in a house like that. It would be cool in summer.

  2. That last image is gorgeous. When we lived in New Mexico, that's what I loved about the adobe homes. They looked like airy caves.

  3. I agree with Diane. I totally love that last image. Congrats to Lee!

  4. I love cave houses! I'd love to live in one someday. It must be nice and toasty in winter.

  5. I do remember the Goonies. Love the photos, particularly the last one. It reminds me of a Hobbit home. Congrats to Lee!

  6. Caves are so cool. I've never seen a cave in real life, but I've done some research on them for a WIP. So neat. Congrats to Lee!

  7. It does remind me of Goonies, but it also reminds me of Stand by Me - great book! Congrats to C. Lee!

  8. Congrats to C.Lee! That sounds like my kind of house. Although I suppose it would be pretty dark!

  9. I don't remember the Goonies but I like the house and the idea that Lee has written about a mining camp is also intriguing to me

  10. I love your pictures of the cave houses. I think I'd feel very safe living in one of those. BTW, I love your disclaimer on your comment form about alien abduction. You've got a great sense of humor!

  11. I've never encountered caves. I'd like to visit one. I'm almost done with Lee's book and it's great.


I will do everything in my power to visit commenter's blogs unless I've been abducted by aliens or my children get sick. (If my children get abducted by aliens, I will be very busy, of course, catching up on my sleep.)