The little town of Brilliant, Ohio was changed when they learned of Amanda Baron's supposed accidental drowning. She and a man, supposedly her lover, were on a small boat, without lights, when a barge suddenly appeared. Did Amanda and the mysterious man die accidentally or were they murdered? Amanda's son, Travis was just a baby and grew up with his very abusive father, a trucker. Travis never could get anyone to talk about his mother, not even Big Frank, his father. He knew almost nothing and he was going on 16. Travis had questions, especially since his mother's body was never found.
Operation Amanda started when Travis and his best friend, Mitch Malone, start their investigation into the death. The more they dug, the more questions they had. The more questions they had led them deeper and deeper. Murder seems to have been likely. These boys were going into a very dark and ugly place.
This was a good coming of age read, paced quite right and never a dull moment. Every page you turn, you think you have Amanda's death figured out. It could have been a lot of different people. The author gives you looks into the town and the high school where Travis and Mitch go. You can picture the characters and the scenes where the plot takes you. You can almost see that '57 Chevy roaring down the cliff when someone else goes missing in the river and a body can't be found. Who else is missing? Will Amanda be found? Is she still alive or is she dead? How far will Mitch go along with Travis before it ends? Above all, who is C.J.?
Amanda Baron died in a boating accident on the Ohio River in 1953. Or, did she? While it was generally accepted that she had died when a coal barge rammed the pleasure boat she was sharing with her lover, her body was never found.
Travis Baron was an infant when his mother disappeared. After the accident and the subsequent publicity, Travis’s father scoured the house of all evidence that Amanda Baron had ever lived, and her name was never to be uttered around him. Now in high school, Travis yearns to know more about his mother. With the help of his best friend, Mitch Malone, Travis begins a search for the truth about the mother he never knew. The two boys find an unlikely ally: an alcoholic former detective who served time for falsifying evidence. Although his reputation is in tatters, the information the detective provides about the death of Amanda Baron is indisputable—and dangerous.
Nearly two decades after her death, Travis and Mitch piece together a puzzle lost to the dark waters of the Ohio River. They know how Amanda Baron died, and why. Now what do they do with the information?