It was a good place, a peaceful place. The kind of place where the past could lie, forever.
At the foot of the hill the lake was frozen in a dead calm, a dark mirror reflecting the clouds that rolled in above. Not that those weirdos down a the festival would be turning in any time soon. No, they’d be partying into the early hours, but still, best to do it now rather than wait.
Pages – 302
Published by Orchard Books in July 2013
People think of Mother Nature as a gentle lady. They forget that she's also Death...Sixteen-year-old Poppy Sinclair believes in quantum particles, not tarot cards, in Dawkins, not druids. Last summer, in a boating accident in the Lake District, Poppy had a brush with death. But the girl she finds face down in Scariswater hasn't been so lucky. As she fights to discover the truth behind what she believes is murder, Poppy is forced to concede that people and things are not always what they seem and, slipping ever deeper into a web of lies, jealousy and heart-stopping danger, she comes to realise - too late - that the one thing that can save her has been right there, all the time
I’m not normally one for contemporary thrillers, but this book intrigued me. The debut author, Sharon Jones was a winner of the SCWBI Undiscovered Voices competition in 2012, which I was able to read excerpts from online and I desperately wanted to read more of one of the winning entries.
From the prologue, my interest was captured. I wanted to know more. I needed to know more. Who was talking? Who was being buried? There was no turning back for me. In the first chapter you meet the rather realistic protagonist, a normally rather sensible teen, dealing with a heavy load of teenage emotional baggage. Basically she has feelings she isn’t sure what to do with. Quickly, Poppy becomes embroiled in a murder investigation and you follow the book at a dramatic pace to find out just who the killer was. The writing is realistic and quite witty at times, yet heating up as the plot thickened. I found myself reading very fast as each chapter left me wanting more. The secondary characters all stood out and some appeared even larger than life as they took centre stage – I’ve been left with a huge soft spot for Bob, not to mention Dawkins.
There are a few things that I really loved about this book. Firstly, this is the first teen plot I can remember that has really cool adults in it. They haven’t been banished to the back of the beyond – Poppy has adults that actually care about and play an important part in the story. Shocker, eh! I was amazed at how well the author fitted them into the plot. And not only did she integrate them nicely into the story but she got away with it too, showing that not all adults need to abandon their children in fiction.
Secondly, I loved the relationship triangle that occurs between Poppy, Tariq and Michael. You’ll notice I’m calling it ‘relationship triangle’ rather than ‘love triangle’ because this book portrays a realistic look at romance. Poppy isn’t falling in love within seconds of meeting someone; she might get all hot and bothered around Tariq, but Michael has been her friend since childhood. What’s a girl to do? So another plus for the story – no insta-love here.
Finally, I adored the setting. I thought it was very original and very British. All the tipis, caravans, and Druids really caught my interest. I haven’t read any other YA book that has used this kind of setting. I loved that although this book was contemporary, it had a subtle dash of paranormal thrown in that left you to your own conclusions about certain subjects mentioned. The author has given this thriller a Jonathan Creek kind of feel to it and I for one, can’t wait for more.
The author definitely has a fresh and original voice which brings something exciting and new to the YA contemporary thriller market. I know that the main character, Poppy, appears in the next book by this author and I’m totally intrigued as to how she will fall into another mystery that is waiting to be solved.