Greedy Jack Wallace
This mashup of contemporary tale/high-stakes Wild West adventure/ghost story launches the Dreamcatcher Adventures series. On the last day of seventh grade, Blake Monroe is dissed by a girl he wants to date, has a run-in with his bullying nemesis, and learns that the bank is foreclosing on his family's home. Riding his horse to escape his woes, the Montana boy encounters Galloping Gray Monroe, the roguish ghost of a 19th-century bounty hunter ancestor. Gray recruits Blake for a somewhat convoluted mission that involves recovering purportedly valuable ransom for the kidnapped daughter of a Chippewa medicine man who made magical dreamcatchers in the 1800s. The action ratchets up when Gray learns that outlaw Jack Wallace—his archenemy, who also has returned as a ghost—is hell-bent on finding the long-lost ransom, too. Gray's amiable cluelessness about 21st-century life delivers some comedic punches throughout: he shoots up the TV when he feels threatened by an on-screen character and chops up utility poles for firewood. Despite the wild premise, Blake is a real-life kid whose grit and quick thinking save the day. Ages 6–12.