The Poisoned Pencil Press ~ August 2015 ~ 4 Stars
At sixteen, Seth Anomundy is well-equipped to raise himself. He’s been doing it for years. He works around his neighborhood on the rough side of Tacoma, doing errands for the owner of the clock repair shop and filling in at a local restaurant as well as hanging out at the boxing gym. He takes himself to school and finds himself providing more advice for his mother than she does for him. When he picks up a broken antique clock to take it to be repaired, Seth meets Azura, a rich girl who thinks he’s “hot” – at first he figures she’s just looking for a walk on the wild side. Then again, she might be sincere.
Before he can decide what to do or not do with Azura, Seth’s mother is murdered. He feels that the police aren’t interested in finding who did the deed and he’ll investigate himself. This decision in turn leads him into danger which continues to escalate putting not only Seth in jeopardy but also Azura when she tries to help him.
Mr. Llewellyn has a gift for realistic dialogue and creates fairly believable teen characters. Told from Seth’s point of view, this was a straight-forward young adult mystery with few proverbial red herrings. It became fairly obvious early on who was the killer, although it took until the end of the book to learn the killer’s motivation. With more development, the ensemble cast of characters could have been more interesting – as it was, it became difficult to tell them apart. In addition, more sensory description such as the smells and sounds of Tacoma would have enhanced the story as well as Seth’s character. Occasionally, Azura didn’t seem to have a real purpose – she just acted as a place-holder – then as the action progressed, her role changed.
Despite these flaws, this was an interesting read and it will be entertaining to see what adventures Seth has in the future.
I always enjoy my own adventures in “Garage-Sale” land and I stumbled across Scat by Carl Hiaasen, another oldie and goodie. If you know someone who likes ecological mysteries have them check out this one. It’s about a teacher who disappears during a school field trip to the Florida Everglades.
This review was provided by Shannon Kennedy for her column Shannon’s Space in the Sept 2015 issue of The Book Breeze,