I was looking for something to read in this genre when this book popped through the post - I'm really glad that it did. The title of the book perfectly captures what's in store for the reader. This is a brilliant new crime-mystery story told through the eyes of a teenage boy looking for answers as to the death of his mum.
Joe's mum is killed in a hit-and-run car crash, along with someone that he's never heard of before. Angry and alone, Joe takes his dog for a late night walk. He finds himself at the gates of an empty mansion; a house of glass belonging to an old movie star. And it's here that Joe unlocks the dangerous mystery of what happened that night.
The author has been inspired by an eclectic mix of Dickens' Great Expectations, the famous Lord Lucan mystery and the opening of the KGB files back in 2009. These have been used to great effect and lend a sense of mystery and possibilities to the story. An exhilarating tale is told in the style of Lord Peter Wimsey from the detective adventures by Dorothy L Sayers. I have to say that this diverse mix of ideas and inspirations really make this story quite unique.
This book has a fast paced nature to it - the story unfolds the mysteries that Joe faces as he heads further into this dangerous adventure. It is layered with unexpected twists - just when you think that you've got the story sussed you have to think again. One of the strong points of this book includes the host of very interesting and varied characters that will have you gripped from the start until the very end.
The main characters are Yuri, a scary ex-contract killer with a heart of gold and a secret stash of emeralds. Norma Craig, an old movie star with a secret or two, Joe Slattery and his sidekick terrier called Oz. The all important bad person is the mysterious character know as Vulture, a Russian spy, who wants to eliminate her previous history at all cost. If that's not enough, then there are many secondary characters to keep you company along the way.
This book will take you slowly down the darkened path of murder, espionage, the London crime culture and a secret family past. There are many hidden secrets that will make you want to uncover the answers for your very self. It is a gripping read for the 11+ market - a book for both boys and girls who have adventurous spirits. It is very well written and is full of ideas which are deliciously dark and sometimes brutal. These have all been told through the modern day perspective which also pull at the heart strings.
I would love to read more books like this as it was an absolute pleasure and delight. This is another great book from such a diverse author who also writes under the name of Sam Osman.
Published by Chicken House - 6th June 2013. Age 11+ - ISBN: 978 1 908435 68 2