The Book of Mormon Sleuth 5, The Secret Mission
C. B. Andersen
Deseret Book, 2008
Brandon Andrews is having nightmares. Okay, perhaps it would be more
accurate to say that Brandon Andrews is having a nightmare, over and
over and over again. A chance encounter in a grocery store with a
crotchety old man has been taking over Brandon's nighttime musings. In
this dream, the man from the grocery store consistently morphs into Mr.
Omni, a man whom Brandon sees as a nemesis from his past.
As Brandon strives to overcome his fears and the sleep deprivation that
they are causing, Mr. Andrews calmly announces to the family that the
time has come to take their next family vacation. In most families this
would be a cause of great excitement and anticipation. Unfortunately, as
Brandon says, "My dad is awesome. That said, I know of two areas where
he is totally lacking. The first is his ability to show compassion when
I am in distress (which is why I hadn't yet bothered to tell him about
my nightmares). The second is that he has absolutely no idea how to do a
normal family vacation."
As most of his children watch him in dread-filled silence, Mr. Andrews
explains that he has received a phone call from Mr. Omni. He has
requested that the entire family come to stay with him at his cottage
for a week in Southern California. As the family will later learn, Mr.
Omni has been excavating some ruins and has found an old copy of the
Book of Mormon and an old journal that belonged to the catholic priest
who lived there in the 1800's. The priest had received the Book of
Mormon as a gift from a member of the Mormon Battalion. These things
become the opening clues in a story that will carry the Andrews family
in general, Brandon and his brother, Jeff, in particular, through yet
another vacation filled with mystery and mayhem.
As the Andrews family seeks out information on the Mormon Battalion,
Brandon and Jeff spot the evil Dr. Anthony. They give chase and, for
their efforts, are locked in a small filing room at the Mormon Battalion
Visitor's Center. It doesn't take long for Brandon to connect Dr.
Anthony with Mr. Omni, a fact that only increases his horror at being on
As the mystery deepens, the reader is drawn into the story and allowed
to solve the riddle of the past and answer the questions of the present.
It is often said that those who don't understand history are doomed to
repeat it. In his book, The Book of Mormon Sleuth, The Secret Mission,
C.B. Andersen does an excellent job of weaving past and present
together, fictionalized though it may be. C.B. Andersen shows just how
inextricably linked the past and present are. At the same time, there
are gospel lessons woven subtly throughout the entire book. The reader
gets a refresher course on the Articles of Faith and just how they apply
to daily life.
The Secret Mission is written well enough that one does not need to be
familiar with the previous books in this series in order to enjoy
reading this one. It is easy to follow and is really very much its own
book. This book is definitely geared toward youth of the Latter-day
Saint persuasion. It is told from their perspective. However, most LDS
young adults and adults will find this very enjoyable as well. Early in
the book, the storyline did get somewhat bogged down by the consistent
revulsion that Brandon feels for Mr. Omni, especially once Dr. Anthony
comes into the picture. It would be nice in future books to see the
author lean less heavily on this. However, overall, this book flowed
very well, had a great storyline and was just a fun read. I look forward
to reading more books in this series.