An intriguing mystery that fails to deliver on its promise.

FROM THE DEAD

When David McLean dies, leaving behind a notebook filled with code, a dozen different passports and a trail of mysterious clues, his seven grandsons follow seven different paths to try and figure out exactly who their grandfather was.

It falls to Rennie Charbonneau to investigate Klaus Adler, one of his grandfather’s aliases. Other than a fake Argentinian passport, an old newspaper clipping featuring a photo of three Nazis and a hand-drawn map, Rennie has little to go on. But he is determined to find out whether his grandfather was a spy, as his cousins assume, or a Nazi—as they fear. The paltry trail of clues takes him to inner-city Detroit, where he quickly becomes entangled with an old man obsessed with Nazis and his dysfunctional family. If Rennie can keep from getting himself killed or thrown in jail, he might be able to solve a mystery that will free more than just his own family from the past. While the premise is intriguing, lackluster writing robs Rennie’s quest of its energy. Bright spots of suspense are overwhelmed by extraneous detail and a meandering plot.

An intriguing mystery that fails to deliver on its promise. (Mystery. 10-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4598-0537-8

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Orca

Review Posted Online: July 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2014

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This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes

LEGEND

From the Legend series , Vol. 1

A gripping thriller in dystopic future Los Angeles.

Fifteen-year-olds June and Day live completely different lives in the glorious Republic. June is rich and brilliant, the only candidate ever to get a perfect score in the Trials, and is destined for a glowing career in the military. She looks forward to the day when she can join up and fight the Republic’s treacherous enemies east of the Dakotas. Day, on the other hand, is an anonymous street rat, a slum child who failed his own Trial. He's also the Republic's most wanted criminal, prone to stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. When tragedies strike both their families, the two brilliant teens are thrown into direct opposition. In alternating first-person narratives, Day and June experience coming-of-age adventures in the midst of spying, theft and daredevil combat. Their voices are distinct and richly drawn, from Day’s self-deprecating affection for others to June's Holmesian attention to detail. All the flavor of a post-apocalyptic setting—plagues, class warfare, maniacal soldiers—escalates to greater complexity while leaving space for further worldbuilding in the sequel.

This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes . (Science fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25675-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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TRASH

In an unnamed country (a thinly veiled Philippines), three teenage boys pick trash for a meager living. A bag of cash in the trash might be—well, not their ticket out of poverty but at least a minor windfall. With 1,100 pesos, maybe they can eat chicken occasionally, instead of just rice. Gardo and Raphael are determined not to give any of it to the police who've been sniffing around, so they enlist their friend Rat. In alternating and tightly paced points of view, supplemented by occasional other voices, the boys relate the intrigue in which they're quickly enmeshed. A murdered houseboy, an orphaned girl, a treasure map, a secret code, corrupt politicians and 10,000,000 missing dollars: It all adds up to a cracker of a thriller. Sadly, the setting relies on Third World poverty tourism for its flavor, as if this otherwise enjoyable caper were being told by Olivia, the story's British charity worker who muses with vacuous sentimentality on the children that "break your heart" and "change your life." Nevertheless, a zippy and classic briefcase-full-of-money thrill ride. (Thriller. 12-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-385-75214-5

Page Count: 240

Publisher: David Fickling/Random

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2010

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