Rated 4.75/5 based on 4 reviews
"A real page-turner, I couldn't put it down." - Alberta Writing for Youth Competition (anonymous judge) ***** "I did finish reading Ransom...I did enjoy it. The characters were unique, had grit, and brought their own unique elements to the story." - ECW Press *****

Three friends face off against a larger gang in a suspenseful story of integrity, bravery, and friendship in a territorial battle. More

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About E. R. Yatscoff

Most mysteries and suspense novels have to do with cops, lawyers, and PIs. My protagonist is a firefighter and is the first firefighter pulp fiction in Canada. True grit and reality are my writing tenets.
My juvenile/middle grade/chapter books have no magic wands, wise talking creatures, vampires, or parallel worlds. I write stories about children, not so much specifically for children. Many adults enjoy my writing because of this. My stories are about unassuming boys who get in trouble and must prove themselves and show the world they have hearts of lions. There's fighting, conflict, loyalty, bullies, integrity, and courage. I've read samples to Grade 4 and 5 students and garnered excellent reviews.

I was born in Welland, Ontario, a blue-collar town in the Niagara Peninsula. Backpacked the world and lived in Australia. I've worked as a paperboy, grocery clerk, sales rep, all types of construction work, painter, mink ranch hand, assembly line rubber factory, cherry picker, freelance astronaut (no offers), boilermaker apprentice, various sales jobs, delivery driver, father, coach, and career firefighter and officer for 32 years. I've also played drums in the Black Gold Big Band for 8 years.
I retired as fire captain with Edmonton Fire Rescue, a large Canadian metro fire service. I live in Beaumont, Alberta with Gloria, whom I met on a freighter/passenger ship from Jakarta to Singapore. I've climbed the Great Wall of China, been down and out living in Australia, honeymooned with Gloria during the Grenada Revolution and saw Maurice Bishop, snorkeled with a marlin, almost smuggled a Playboy into Communist Russia, tossed eggs at an Aussie PM, was in Havana when Fidel shocked Cubans and stepped down. My wife made a pot of tea for the Queen of England in N.Z.
I travel widely, do a bit of fishing and boating, drink demon rum, manage a writers group, do occasional renos, and sit on my butt outside in the good weather reading a decent book. My writing work consists of travel articles, YA, juvenile, how-tos, and has garnered several awards. Check out my website for some excellent short stories.


Review by: Danielle Christine on May 2, 2012 :
I didn't think this book was going to keep my kid entertained but it did. No zombies or supernatural stuff just straight ahead action when three boys get attacked and caught by a bigger gang. One of them is taken hostage and the other two have to get their act together and rescue him. I used to read stories like this when I was a kid. It's nice to there's a few still around. Reminds me a little of Lord Of The Flies--boys left alone to fend for themselves. Good read for kids.
(reviewed 24 days after purchase)
Review by: David Dostaler on April 13, 2012 :
I found the start of this story a little dull. It's about three kids "Billy, Tony, and the main character whose name is never mentioned (or I missed it) who generally run around, build tree-forts, and do other kid stuff like that.

The end is 'very' funny though, if you get that far.


Warning: The rest of this review contains Spoilers on the Story!


One day they find a rival gang in their 'territory' and steal all the other kids gear from their tree fort. The other kids respond by kidnapping their friend Billy and threaten to cut off one of his fingers if they don't give everything back and 'in addition' their most prized possessions: a baseball mitt and a coonskin hat.

Instead of sensibly going to the police or a responsible adult, the two kids don't want to get into trouble so recruit Tony's older brother, Johnny, who owns a dirt bike and has a plan.

This is where the story gets really interesting and funny. Johnny has a stick of dynamite (really it's just a smoke flare). The two kids confront the gang and find out Billy was actually the gang leader's cousin. They're mad at him and tell the gang that they told a factory worker about the kidnapping.

Johnny in a mask comes jumping in like a psycho wearing a hard hat with the company logo on it. He screams and lights the dynamite stick. The gang freaks out and runs into their tree fort (who knows why). Johnny locks them in with a hammer and stick and breaks one board to toss in the 'dynamite'. The kids scream, piddle their pants, and generally pray for their life.

The main character laughs his head off. The smoke flare goes off and eventually the fat kid breaks out and a blast of smoke like a cannon shoots out of the tree fort.

To get a good feel for the story, I'd recommend checking out the sample. I hope this review helps you to make a more informed decision about whether to download this book or not.


David L. Dostaler
(reviewed 2 days after purchase)
Review by: Helen Rose on Sep. 6, 2011 :
Three boys go to play in the forest and only two return.
It is the biggest and the bravest friend that is captured by a rival gang who are bigger and have more boys in it. The two boys find out their friend is a captive and to get him back they have to give up their prized possesions. They have to confront the gang and exchange the captive for the possessions. The boys have to outsmart the bigger gang. My son liked this book even though Harry Potter was nowhere in sight. It was good enough that I'll read the others by this author.
(reviewed the day of purchase)
Review by: C KYM on Sep. 2, 2011 :
Three boys end up in a gang war and have to save their friend who's been captured by a gang. They're not really brave or courageous kids and there's only three of them so they have to come up big time to rescue him before their friend gets hurt or their parents find out. A fun summer story about carefree boys. Worthy of four stars, I think.
(reviewed 16 days after purchase)
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