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Book review: 'Double Eagle Double Cross' solves old family mystery

"DOUBLE EAGLE DOUBLE CROSS," by M.R. Durbin, Covenant Communcations, $16.99, 247 pages (f)

“Double Eagle Double Cross” by M. R. Durbin is a mystery set on the Oregon coast, where a century-old family treasure reconnects Charley Sawyer and Makanaakua "Mac" Nixhoni Bowman, in an adventure that threatens both their lives.

Charley comes home from a summer with his grandfather in southern Utah — where he met Mac — to find his parents’ beach house ransacked. His parents were killed in an auto accident while Charley was serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Japan.

At the same time, Mac’s anthropology adviser gives her an assignment to find out how a 1901 $20 gold piece, a Double Eagle, ended up in a Native American leather pouch that was donated to Southern Utah University — an assignment that takes her to a location near Charley’s home in Oregon.

When Mac, accompanied by six grandparents, finally arrives at Charley’s home, they find a cryptic message on the wall which leads them to believe Charley is in grave danger. Two Double Eagles are key to solving the mystery.

Durbin has written another successful, suspenseful, history-based novel that includes a bit of romance and a nod to the wisdom of elders. A brief prologue provides background needed to understand the current-day story. The narrative moves cinematically between contemporaneous situations Charley and Mac experience, and is easy to follow. Cryptic text messages hint at who one of the “bad guys” is, but there are several unexpected revelations when the mystery is finally unraveled.

Charley and Mac are both somewhat socially awkward when it comes to romance, so there is no sex or sexual innuendo. Nor is there any foul language or swearing. There is some violence (shoving someone off a cliff, attempted shooting) but it is not described in excessive detail.

Durbin, a member of the LDS Church, was born in Ford Ord, California, and he grew up in Parowan, Utah. He graduated from Brigham Young University and Utah State University. After 30 years as an educator, he retired and began a writing career. His other books include “Beyond the Narrows” and “Swords of Joseph.

Rosemarie Howard lives in a 100-year-old house on Main Street in Springville, Utah. She enjoys creating multimedia projects. Her website is at