Cloverdale is front and centre in a new adventure novel by author Susan Flanagan.
The Degrees of Barley Lick (Running the Goat Books) is set in Cloverdale and other cities and locations across the Lower Mainland and B.C.
“The book tells the story of 16-year-old Barley Lick whose life is upended when he helps the RCMP search for a kidnapped boy using clues left by a geocacher,” Flanagan told the Reporter via email. “Other featured settings include the Peace Arch border crossing, Grouse Mountain, Golden Ears, Cathedral Grove on Vancouver Island, Sun Peaks, and Barkerville.”
Flanagan said The Degrees of Barley Lick was recently picked for the Winter 2022 Top Grade Books List, which is a list put together by the Association of Canadian Publishers in an effort to raise awareness with teachers about new Canadian children’s books.
The book starts rolling after “A kidnapper takes a nine-year-old boy from a summer camp on Vancouver Island,” said Flanagan. “(He) leaves a single set of coordinates plugged into a handheld global positioning system (GPS) for the boy’s distraught father to find. There is no known motive and no ransom request.”
Flanagan said the book is an adventure mystery as well as a coming-of-age story “told through the eyes of the protagonist, 16-year-old Barley Lick, who is adrift since the recent death of his father.”
The main character lives in Cloverdale with his mother and struggles with the fact that she has a new boyfriend.
“Set in 2006, the story opens with Barley set to compete in GeoFind, a geocaching competition to determine the best geocacher in British Columbia and Washington,” said Flanagan. “Barley wants to honour his dead father by winning first-place.”
A synopsis on runningthegoat.com says, “Life has been hard for sixteen-year-old Barley Lick: he split with his girlfriend, his father died, and now his mother has a new boyfriend, a cop named Fred Newton. Not even Barley’s new Great Dane, Stanley, can make things right.
“When Newton wants Barley to use his geocaching skills to help him solve a mystery, it would mean losing a huge geocaching competition to his ex-girlfriend and arch-enemy Phyllis. But Barley soon realizes that a young boy’s life may be in danger, and time to rescue him is running out.”
Flanagan spent three years in Cloverdale, but now lives in St. John’s. Newfoundland. She won the 2019 Percy Janes First Novel Award for her book Supermarket Baby. The Degrees of Barley Lick is available for purchase by visiting runningthegoat.com and searching “Barley Lick.”
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