by Chris Collett
Published 9/29/17 by Joffe Books
①❷③④⑤ 2 of 5 stars
DI Tom Mariner investigates the death of investigative reporter Eddie Barham, an apparent suicide – except it’s not suicide. PC Tony Knox assists with the investigation. Witness to the death is Jamie, severely autistic, also sibling to Anna and the deceased. Anna Barham, sister of the victim, takes on the care of Jamie while trying to find why her brother was murdered.
Overall impression: The premise drew me in, and I enjoyed the twists and turns as the investigation progressed. The pace increases dramatically toward the conclusion.
What I like:
- The premise: the only one who could say what happened…can’t say what happened.
- The Brocken Spectre (you’ll have to read the book to see how it applies).
- Snappy observations are sprinkled through the book. My favorite is when Anna first meets DI Mariner, whose recent nose injury makes his speech sound a bit thick, and “Anna had to fight a bizarre urge to pinch her nose and respond in the same way.”
- Good opening sentence: the who and the what are identified, but not the back story which would have bogged down the opening.
- Short chapters. New info, red herrings, changes of perspective are all moved along very well in chapters that are quickly read. Also, the chapter endings are good: they made me want to turn the page right away and get to the next part.
What I don’t like:
- DI Mariner, Anna Barham, PC Knox
- Is this story a treatise on autism and medication, or a mystery? Difficult to tell. It’s labeled mystery.
- DI Mariner jumps to conclusions. How does a newspaper story that is “personal” to its author bend itself in Mariner’s mind to be about “personal services”?
- The story reads like it was hastily abridged: answers are sometimes announced before the evidence is introduced.
- Anna’s brother Eddie took care of Jamie for years. When Anna assumes care of Jamie, she starts from scratch learning his favorite foods, etc. Why didn’t she just check Eddie’s cupboards to see what he stocked for Jamie?
- Too much detail that doesn’t relate to the story. While the detail does establish the characters’ experience and mindset, the reader doesn’t need that much detail to get the picture.
Thank you to Joffe Books and NetGalley for an Advanced Reader Copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I Hear a Red Crayon: a Child’s Perspective of Her Brother’s Autism
by Bonnie Feuer
(c) October 2015
The Connecticut Press and Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA)
Genre: Children’s Nonfiction
Rating: * * * *
A combination of the title and the cover image drew me to this book about a girl growing up with an autistic brother.
The illustrations really make this book work: I felt an instant connection with the confusion and disorder as well as the breakthrough moments of joy and understanding through the black-and-white images.
While the text may appeal mostly to older kids and young adults, the illustrations make the book equally – or perhaps even more – accessible for younger children.
Thank you to NetGalley, The Connecticut Press, and IBPA for the Advance Reader Copy I received in exchange for an honest review.