(Square Fish, Oct. 28, 2008)
Twelve-year-old Grady Flood and his mom, Lila, have been on the road ever since Grady's dad died seven years ago. When their old car breaks down, they find themselves stranded in rural Pennsylvania where Lila gets work as a cook and caretaker. There's nothing out of the ordinary in that, unless you factor in her new boss. Old Charlie Fernwald, a skilled mechanic and bird enthusiast, is definitely out of the ordinary. In fact, if Grady's not mistaken, Charlie is a certifiable "wing nut." For the time being, Grady figures, he can help Charlie with his birds and maybe even learn how to fix a car engine. But before he can do either, something goes terribly wrong.