Middle Grade Mystery Series for boys: Caden Chronicles

Enjoy this middle grade mystery series for boys, girls… even adults who enjoy a good “who done it.”

Writing a great book report can be a challenging assignment because it requires the reader (or listener, if an audio book) to remember and analyze large amounts of information. Information like: the story’s main themes, its plot, character’s external problems and emotional issues.

No worries!

Included in each book are the questions you will need to complete your book report.

With these easy-to-follow “Official Criminal Inquiry” worksheets, you can fill in the answers to the questions while you read. When finished, your book report should be thorough enough to convict a killer!

Middle Grade mystery series readers will love the challenge of discovering who is behind these paranormal, supernatural crimes.

Dead Man's Hand-Middle Grade mystery series Skull Creek Stakeout - Middle Grade mystery series Dead Low Tide—Middle Grade mystery series Rumor of a Werewolf—Middle Grade mystery series Phantom Gunslinger - Middle Grade mystery series Medium Well Done - Middle Grade mystery series

Why should a boy or girl begin reading the Caden Chronicles?

Novels in the Caden Chronicles are fast, fun, clean teen and tween books. Boys and girls will fall in love with the quirky characters Nick meets, their oddball antics, and the way Nick solves murder cases by watching police and detective shows — all while Nick displays daring confidence, while also finding trouble and danger.

Why should parents pick the Caden Chronicles for their boys and girls?

Parents will appreciate the clean elements and moral values that avoid profanity and suggestive situations. As an imperfect teen sleuth, Nick is troubled by the phoniness he sees around him and the lies of others that pass for facts. Above all, he wants to find the truth. This drives him to act in ways that lead him towards danger. Nick believes his generation needs to seek truth and that can only be found by asking hard questions.

Each book has some romance, but it’s innocent and clean. The girls who help Nick solve the cases are independent, smart, brave, and often see things Nick overlooks.

What age is appropriate for these books?

The Caden Chronicles are appropriate for mature sixth grade readers. Other parents may choose seventh or eighth grade, due to the fact that Nick IS solving a murder. Because he watches old copy and detective TV shows in order to solve crimes, he’ll sometimes think and act like an older teen might. The Caden Chronicles are also a great, nostalgic read for adults.

Want to help teen sleuth Nick Caden uncover the mystery behind the avenging ghost?

Complete the “Official Criminal Inquiry” book report found in each book and see if you have the makings of a “cold case” detective. Why not get started today!

Dream the Dreams of Jesus

Bahama Breeze

What Would You Attempt to Do if You Knew You Wouldn’t Fail?

When faced with a barren field dream the dreams of Jesus. A few years back I found myself sleeping in Lums Pond State Park near Newark, Delaware. Some months earlier I’d lost my job.

Oh, I knew where my job hid—in a cubicle in Bangalore, India. But I wasn’t flying halfway around the world to bring it home. I couldn’t afford the plane ticket. Couldn’t afford a room at the Howard Johnson in Newark, Delaware, either. So, the afternoon before the start of the Delaware Christian Writers Conference I pitched my tent on hard-packed dirt, unloaded my gear and drove my twenty-year-old Toyota hatchback up the road to the University of Delaware campus. I had a dream and a manuscript and not much else.

Dreams Have a Life of Their Own

Dreams come alive when we are not watching. While we’re going about life with all its worries, our dreams slip off and—if blessed by God—come alive. My dream sat in the passenger seat staring out the window. My dream dreamed of sailing the islands, surfing reef breaks and writing a best-selling novel. My dream was a big time dreamer.

Before I left the house that morning I’d “prayed on” the breastplate of righteousness. I’d asked God to keep my thoughts pure and my dreams secure. Righteous thoughts are the lifeblood of Christians. What we hold in our hearts, we speak with our mouth. And what we speak often come to life because our words carry life and death (Proverbs 18:21).

Lust long enough and you take what’s not yours. Meditate on God’s Word and your spirit aligns with his Spirit and his Spirit creates.

God knows the plans He has for us (Jeremiah 29:11). Plans for good not ill, plans for a future and hope. One of the dreams God placed in my heart was to write for Him.

The last night of the writers conference the John Riddle called my name. My manuscript Bahama Breeze had won first place. With award came a $1000 check. Minutes later, sitting in my beater car, I wept. God’s affirmation that my dream was also his dream meant more to me than a thousand dollars.

Dreaming the Dreams of Jesus Pays Off

But a thousand dollars is still a thousand dollars, so… when I returned to my campsite and found my tent in a soaking heap and my sleeping bag drenched, I threw it all in the trunk, crawled behind the wheel and said to my dream in the passenger seat, “Come on, dream. We’re checking into a hotel. God has upgraded us.”

A good many act as if Jesus came to kill, steal and destroy, but that’s the other guy. Jesus came to heal, fill and restore. Jesus is not a genie whose head we can rub to get what we want. But when our heart aligns with His and His dreams for us re-align our spirit to His, small and great things will spring forth.

This vision you have in your heart? Is it a dream of dreams from Jesus? Ask Jesus if it’s from him or the enemy. And if it’s from him, believe he will bring it to life.


I Entrust This Book to You, Lord.

Bless This Book

Jesus would not entrust (assign the responsibility for doing something to) himself to others for he knows the hearts of everyone. He knows what is in a person. (John 2:24)

Lord, you alone are my help and savior. You are Jehovah-jireh, the Lord Who Provides! I do not put my trust in men and women but in you. Where others promise and fail to show up, stand up, and stand with, you remain faithful.

Paul said, “I have no one else like Timothy who takes a genuine interest in your welfare. For everyone looks out for their own interests.” (Philippians 2:20-21)

Lord, I declare that you are my hope and God. When all others flee, you stand fast. When all others become distracted by the concerns, wants, and needs of their lives, you remain by my side. You listen to my cries, my prayers, hear my plans and pleas. You answer me when I call out. (Psalm 91:15) My provision is in you and you alone.

Paul said, “Be like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.” (Philippians 2:2)

Oh, Lord, that I would be like-minded, of one spirit, one mind, one love in you and for you and have this same love for others.

In you I have all that I need for the works of my hands.

All the seed I sow will produce a harvest. Because you are the God who provides provision and protection, I declare that my hope in you will bring success, book sales, new readers, new customers, and new vision. I declare blessing upon the works of my hands. My territory is enlarged. My influence for you is expanded. My books sell!

Praise to you, Lord, the God who provides. 

Medium Well Done

New Release—Middle Grade Mystery

“A whip-smart mystery series with a touch of paranormal and much-needed humor, realistic crime-scene drama plays out in each book, including this latest, when a girl goes missing and her brother is wrongfully imprisoned. Only this time, Nick’s brilliant wit and sleuthing skills are seriously tested when he is brought into a world of spiritualists, mediums and ghosts coming back from the dead. In the spirit of The Hardy Boys and Scooby Doo — ‘is it a ghost or not,’ and ‘those meddling kids’ — I highly recommend this series, especially for boys and reluctant readers.” – Kim Childress, Book Editor, Girls’ Life Magazine

Medium Well DoneNick Caden is no stranger to supernatural mysteries and paranormal phenomena. He and his buddies have been TV crime fans for years, which helped Nick solve his first murder case, during an Old West, ghost-town, family vacation that went horribly wrong, but landed Nick a reporting gig for The Cool Ghoul Gazette.

From uncovering vampire killers to catching zombies and werewolves, Nick relies on truth, facts, and his favorite cop and detective shows, and he debunks all kinds of crazy “paranormal” murders.

In Medium Well Done, Nick’s friend Keisha needs help to prove her brother’s innocence in a local murder, and the only other suspect seems to be a ghost.

When Keisha goes missing and presumed dead, Nick is forced into an unlikely partnership with the local police and Jaz, a teen with a “spiritual gift” that lets her “to know things about the dead.” As they work to uncover the facts, they need to rely on the word of “Sistah Séance,” a Gullah woman on Georgia’s Sea islands, who seems able to “bring up the dead.”

In this mystery, Nick discovers a world of darkness, where “evil thoughts and spirits flourish” — one where he suspects a psychic-spiritualist is somehow involved.

This time, Nick doesn’t have all the answers. But he does know how to ask the right questions. And what he learns is worse than any lies a fake fortuneteller might pass off as truth.

Receiving Healing and Help from God — Jesus Rebukes Unbelief: Finding Faith for the Struggling Writer

Luke 9:37-42, Mark 9:14-28, Matthew 17:14-20

After the nine disciples cast out the demon it did not leave the boy. Perhaps at that point doubt entered their minds. Had they done something wrong? Failed to use the right words?

Some time earlier we find a group of demons negotiating with Jesus. Did the Nine use that event to justify their unbelief?

A man filled with a demon ran and fell on his knees in front of Jesus. Jesus had said to the demon, “Come out of this man, you impure spirit!”

The demon shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In God’s name don’t torture me!”

Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?”

“My name is Legion, for we are many.”

Let’s pause to consider the pronouns used by unclean spirits. First they lied to Jesus by claiming to be a singular spirit. But when Jesus demanded to know the spirit’s name, they confessed to be a group of spirits.

Second, the demon asked Jesus not to torture it. In fact over and over the demons begged Jesus to spare them.

The demon begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area.

The demons begged Jesus, “Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them.” He gave them permission, and the impure spirits came out and went into the pigs.

The Nine would have recalled how Legion negotiated with Jesus, so when they attempted to cast it out, the demon may have sensed their weak faith and rejected their authority.

When Jesus arrives his first response is not to rebuke the evil spirits, but his disciples. He scolds them for their perverted skepticism.

“You unbelieving and perverse generation. How long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you?” (Luke 9:41)

Receiving Healing and Help from God — Jesus Rebukes UnbeliefAnytime our actions and beliefs are contrary to what is right and good in God’s eyes we are in a state of depravity and perversion. Perversion brings about the opposite of what God intends. The Nine claimed to act on behalf of Jesus, but the fruit of their actions led to taunting by the religious leaders. Their perverse unbelief brought not honor, but dishonor to Jesus.

Doubt and indecision have no place in God’s healing and help. When we doubt, we are in agreement with the devil. When we are unsure if God wants us healed and helped, we deny Christ, for he said, “I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)

After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” He replied, “You have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:20) “This kind can come out only by prayer.” (Mark 9:28-29)

Pure faith and prayer are the keys to mighty works in the name of Jesus.

Jesus’ final action is to rebuke the unclean spirit and give the boy to his father whole, healed, and in his right mind.

If you seek healing from God, do not doubt. Do not say, “If it is your will . . .” Jesus is always willing to heal. (Matthew 8:3) Healing is purpose. By his wounds, lashes, bruises we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5) To question if he wants us to remain sick and feeble is to question if he wants us to be saved from sin. Jesus said:

“It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”Luke 5:31

Jesus is in the business of healing and saving. May we also be about his business.

Receiving Healing and Help from God — Mustard Seed Faith for the Struggling Writer

Luke 9:37-42, Mark 9:14-28, Matthew 17:14-20

Receiving Healing and Help from God — Mustard Seed Faith

Answers to our prayers bring conflict, division and opposition. “When Jesus came to the other disciples, he saw a large crowd around them and the teachers of the law arguing with them (the other nine disciples).” Our attempts to believe in the power of Jesus will always lead to conflict, division, and opposition. Nine other disciples had tried to heal one boy. They had failed. Earlier these nine, plus Peter, James, and John, had gone out in pairs and healed all they met. They had driven out demons. Now their failure to help one boy threatened the reputation of Jesus. If his disciples proved to be frauds, then the Scribes’ argument that Jesus was a false teacher would carry greater weight.

Answers to our prayers includes humility. “A man came and knelt before Jesus.” In contrast to the nine disciples and the Scribes, the father moved passed arguments and acknowledged that he needed Jesus’ help. Casting blame hinders our ability to draw close to Jesus. Forgive, be reconciled, and draw near to him.

Answers to our prayers include repentance for both us and others. The father said, “Lord, have mercy on my son.” James declares that the prayers of righteous individuals are powerful (James 5:16). Even though none of us are righteous on our own, through the blood of Christ we are made righteous. Before we make our requests to God, repent, confess our sins, and in humility come before God with our prayers lists of petitions.

Answers to our prayers include clear and detailed descriptions of the affliction or situation. “My boy has seizures and suffers greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. He is possessed by a spirit that robs him of speech. Whenever this spirit seizes him, it throws him into convulsions and onto the ground. He foams at the mouth. He gnashes his teeth. He becomes rigid. He suddenly screams. This spirit scarcely ever leaves him. This spirit is destroying him.” Effective prayer includes specifics. Not because Jesus needs to know, but because we need to be able to testify later of all that he did. In listing details of the affliction we give weight to the power of Jesus’ healing and help. But we should be careful not to glorify the affliction or situation. Do not claim it as yours by saying, “My ____ (disease, problem).”  The affliction or situation is not ours. It’s of the devil. He came to steal, kill, and destroy and Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil.

Answers to our prayers often include a recap of past attempts at healing and help. “I brought my boy to _____ but they could not heal (help).” Before Jesus healed the woman with the issue of blood, we learn that she had spent all she had on doctors but none could help her. In fact, she grew worse. The contrast of failed attempts at healing and help reveals our need for God in all situations. We should be careful, however, not to blame on those who tried to help us and failed. Blame and shaming can block the flow of healing and help from God.

In our next lesson on healing and help we will look at the importance of pure faith.