Meet Garvie Smith. Highest IQ ever recorded at Marsh Academy. Lowest ever grades. What’s the point? Life sucks. Nothing surprising ever happens.Until Chloe Dow’s body is pulled from a pond. His ex-girlfriend. DI Singh is already on the case. Ambitious, uptight, methodical – he’s determined to solve the mystery – and get promoted. He doesn’t need any ‘assistance’ from notorious slacker, Smith.Or does he?
I requested a copy of this book from the publisher through my role as a bookseller and they kindly agreed to send me a copy in exchange for an honest review.
I was really impressed with this as a whodunit; there are multiple false conclusions drawn about the case – moments when everything seems to have fallen into place and the case is solved, only to find out that one detail doesn’t fit the story – and this really kept me on my toes as a reader, which made it all the more enjoyable as I couldn’t guess the solution to the case before it was revealed.
As readers, we are forced to put our trust in the protagonist, Garvie, to guide us through the mystery. As such, we are encouraged to form a connection with Mason’s rather unlikable protagonist. In many ways, Garvie reminds me of a young Sherlock Holmes: clever, bored, doesn’t have time for people, cocky, and perhaps most importantly, observant. He is a fascinating and complex character which is always wonderful to see. In some ways he is the perfect hero: brave, determined, and clever, willing to put himself in danger to solve the case. However, he is also lazy, arrogant, and disrespectful, making him an unlikeable character despite his efforts to solve the case. This makes for an interesting narrative as we have to rely on his perspective of events to figure out the mystery.
One of my favourite things about this book is the diversity of the characters, which is not something that is seen in this way. Notable is DI Singh who is a Sikh policeman. Whilst his beliefs are shown to be integral to his character, they are not at the centre of his personal conflict. Mason writes his characters as characters first and diverse second, and that’s how diverse characters should be written.
This is a fantastic action-packed crime novel, perfect for older teens.