Bad seed wars with good in an orphaned teenager who finds out that his mother’s death wasn’t an accident.
Originally published a decade ago in Canada, this series opener set in Toronto hooks Michael—a troubled teen surrounded by poor companions and role models— up with his history teacher, quiet ex-cop John Riel. Four years after the loss of his loving, hardworking mother, Mike’s life seems to be going down the tubes thanks to failing grades, a breakup with his girlfriend and sudden unemployment following an arrest for a minor theft. The electrifying discovery that his new teacher had been in charge of his mom’s never-solved case, though, leads to new questions and clues that implicate both the uncle who is his sole remaining family member and a pair of shady associates. It also leads to an initially hostile but growing mutual attachment that culminates, following a second sudden death and nearly a third, in Mike gaining a steady new foster father. Look for more role modeling and crime solving in two sequels that publish simultaneously: Truth and Lies and Dead and Gone.
The rescue of an at-risk adolescent with light and dark sides takes center stage, but the unfolding mystery adds a dramatic subplot. (Mystery. 12-14)