Fire in the Hole

by Mary Cronk Farrell

School Library Journal : Gr 4-8–An adventure based on an incident that took place in Idaho in 1899. Mick is adamant that he won't work in the mines like his father. At first, he simply tries to keep his chances going for further education, but then the friction between the workers and the mine owners becomes more urgent and the escalating violence in the community leaves Mick more and more critical to the survival of his family. Characters seem somewhat stock at first with the domineering dad; the loving but ineffectual mother; the evil foreman; and the kindly newspaper editor. The realities of the labor dispute include the power of the government support of the mine owner juxtaposed with the cocky stridence of the workers and their mistakes along the way. Not quite up to the standard of Kristine L. Franklin's Grape Thief (Candlewick, 2003) in terms of historical richness and character detail, this novel is still a gripping tale of survival that uses its historical background to add depth and drama.–Carol A. Edwards, Douglas County Libraries, Castle Rock, CO

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