Farmer Fiction: ‘Bad Call’ combines mystery, murder, romance for young readers

Author Stephen Wallenfels keeps audience engaged from page to page with new thriller


Marissa Redding

Stephen Wallenfels’ intoxicating thriller “Bad Call” was published Dec. 19, 2017.

Stephen Wallenfels’ intoxicating thriller “Bad Call” was published Dec. 19, 2017. Incorporating romance and suspense, Wallenfels not only grasps the attention of his readers by his apprehension, but the bright red cover also assists in promoting the general appeal.

One would think Wallenfels’ novel would mimic a Stephen King book, but it doesn’t. King writes murder mystery novels. His books are tremendously detailed and most end up to be movies. Another author who one may associate with “Bad Call” is James Patterson. Patterson also writes murder mysteries, such as the “Confessions” series. Both of these authors have factors in their writing some readers believe will be a part of Wallenfels’, but the novel is tame enough for a sixth grader.

As a murder mystery, “Bad Call” reaches for undivided attention as the plot unfolds. The story follows the adventures of a group consisting of four teens: Colin, Ceo, Grahame and Ellie. The book is set in Yosemite, California, where the group decides to camp.

“A minute later we hear a sound that stops us both. Explosive, like a gunshot…A minute after that Grahame walks into camp lugging a giant dead branch over his shoulder. ‘See,’ he says to Ceo, tossing it down, ‘I told you the ax would come in handy.’”

The ax is the main focal point of the story. It all starts when Grahame decides to bring an ax on the trip saying, “I thought it might be useful.” In the beginning, bringing the ax seemed like a good idea, but later on readers learn about some tension between two campers. This makes the idea of having an ax not so pleasant.

It all started with four poker-bound teenage boys. Everything seems to be going fine until one of the boys back out and is replaced by Ceo. He replaces him with Ellie. When they arrive at the entrance of the park, they learn their original camping site has been engulfed in flames. However, this does not stop them.

They decide to embark on the daunting Snow Creek Falls Trail to the top of Yosemite Valley. While they trek through the undergrowth, the weather changes for the worse, furthering the suspense and keeping the readers on their toes. From then on, they make some grievous decisions that will impact their adventure significantly.

Those who enjoy murder, romance and mystery will be entertained by “Bad Call.” In addition, the short read aides in progressing the story, but the disasters that occur are protracted and can cause the reader to get bored and skip to the climax. Overall “Bad Call” earns 3.5/5 stars simply because the summary misleads readers to believe the story will be exhilarating.