They say she’s cursed…

9781925324976Title: Black
Author: Fleur Ferris
Interest Level:  Year 8 +

Death follows Ebony Marshall. That’s what the whispers say anyway. Three of her best friends have died in tragic accidents. She’s not just bad luck; she’s cursed; she’s Black.

Once it bothered her, but now Black’s used to being on her own and she’s gotten very good at pushing people away. That is, until a new boy comes to school. He’s interesting and persistent, he won’t be pushed away. But after he’s rushed to hospital, the whispers get louder… Who or what is behind these deaths? Black doesn’t know who to trust and she can’t fight on her own anymore. Can she solve this mystery before death comes for her too? Or is she really cursed..?

A gripping read from start to finish, you’ll find that this thriller has teeth. Enter Black’s lonely world, set in the small Victorian town of Dainsfield, where a young girl’s hope of moving on becomes a fight for survival. In her second thrilling novel, Fleur Ferris grips her audience and causes you to question: who you really trust? If you’re a fan of thrillers or crime novels, then this fast-paced mystery will be perfect for you.

Highly Recommended: **** (ofr)

Mycroft and Watts are at it again!

every wordTITLE = EVERY WORD

AUTHOR = ELLIE MARNEY

GENRE = CRIME, MYSTERY, FAMILY, FRIENDSHIP, RELATIONSHIPS

INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 10+

An exciting, nail-biting sequel in a brilliant crime series – fans will be delighted and new fans will be won over. The action has moved to London where Mycroft and Watts have a crime to solve but this takes a back seat to battling their demons: Mycroft has plenty of angst in his family history to make him surly and unsure whilst Watts is agonising over their on-again-off-again relationship. Throw in a couple of nasty thugs, a kidnapping, an explosion or two … suddenly the lions they faced in book 1 are looking pretty tame by comparision with their London adventures.

Will Mycroft and Watts survive intact … will their relationship?

Check out the following book trailer for further clues:

(Images by dma or from the Animotot website, Music (Beethoven, Symphony No 5) sourced from thewebsite too.

Read a review of book 1 (Every Breath) here. Fans will be eagerly awaiting the final instalment in this exciting crime series.

Highly Recommended (dma) *****

Going on the run … with Mum and Dad!

two-wolvesTITLE = TWO WOLVES

AUTHOR = TRISTAN BANCKS 

GENRE =CRIME, FAMILIES, GROWING UP 

INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 7, 8

Ben loves making movies; his favourite pastime is to create his own stop-motion movies using all sorts of odds and ends to create the settings and the characters. His favourite genre of movie is crime: cops and robbers (with maybe a zombie or 2 thrown in for good measure). But one day his parents arrive home, bundle Ben and his little sister, Olive, into the car and take off. Suddenly, instead of directing a movie, Ben has one of the starring roles.

What is Ben meant to do once he realises that maybe, just maybe, his parents are not the law abiding citizens he always thought them to be? Is he brave enough to stand up to his dad? Should he turn them in to the police… they are family after all? And what about his little sister … can he drag her along with him?

These are tough decisions and Ben is in a tough situation. This is an exciting story from a popular author (Galactic Adventures: First Kids in SpaceMac Slater, Cool Hunter) which is sure to be enjoyed by young readers, both boys and girls.

 Recommended (dma) ****

 

An exciting new crime series

travis delaney 1TITLE = TRAVIS DELANEY INVESTIGATES: #1 – THE ULTIMATE TRUTH

AUTHOR = KEVIN BROOKS

GENRE = DETECIVE, MYSTERY, CRIME, FAMILY, GRIEF

INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 7 – 9

Travis Delaney is heart-broken at the sudden death of his parents in a car accident. But was it an accident? The Delaney’s ran a private investigator’s agency and there are several questions hanging over their last case. Partly to take his mind off his own personal grief, Travis decides to do some investigating himself … but is he in over his head??

This is a fast-paced action adventure novel, the first instalment in what looks like being an exciting series. Travis is a credible and likeable kid: his grief is raw and he has a good heart. But his opponents are realistically portrayed too, so the danger he faces is all too real.

Sure to be a hit with both girls and boys. Check out the book trailer below:

Music (“Polonium 210”  by Alan Gould & Roger Roger) sourced from the Animoto site, as were the images for this book trailer.

Highly Recommended (dma) ***** 

A mystery solved with some supernatural help

dying to tell meTITLE = DYING TO TELL ME

AUTHOR = SHERRYL CLARK

GENRE = MYSTERY, SUPERNATURAL, CRIME, FAMILY

INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 7-9

Since her mum left, Sasha has been filled with anger, and this has led her into trouble, from shoplifting to joy riding. Humiliating for her, and even more so for her dad, a policeman. In an attempt at a fresh start, Dad has moved with Sasha and her younger brother (Nicky) to the small town of Manna Creek, where he is to be the local cop.

Sasha isn’t entirely happy about the move and even less happy when she starts to have premonitions again; is she seeing ghosts? Is she going mad? To make matters worse, Sasha can even communicate telepathically with their newfound dog, King! Can Sasha use these skills to help her dad solve local crimes or is she just imagining it all?

This is a clever mystery story, with credible characters and heart-warming family relationships. Sasha is a likeable character, with a realistic mix of spunk and vulnerability. A thoroughly entertaining read.

Recommended (dma) **** 

A brilliant end to a wonderful series

black heartTITLE = THE CURSE WORKERS (Book 3): Black Heart

AUTHOR = HOLLY BLACK

GENRE = FANTASY, MAGIC, FAMILY, RELATIONSHIPS

INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 8 +

This is the third and final book in an intriguing series. Fans of the previous 2 books are sure to be satisfied with Holly Black’s clever conclusion. As usual, Cassel Sharpe finds himself in a tricky situation: trying to keep his mother alive and out of jail, trying to keep away from a life of crime, he has signed up to help the Feds. But can he trust them? Or do they simply want to use him as so many others have used him before?

And is his heart destined to be broken…again? The only girl he has ever loved truly despises him (and given that he once turned her into a cat and his own mother once worked a spell on her, Cassel can’t really blame her). But his heart so wishes it was otherwise.

Meanwhile his best friends are fighting, a girl he doesn’t trust wants his help and the principal keeps threatening to kick him out of school. Life was never meant to be this complicated .. was it?

A  terrific book and a wonderfully inventive series … Cassel Sharpe will worm his way into your heart …even if he thinks his own heart is blackened.

Highly Highly Recommended (dma) *****

An unusual narrative approach for a cleverly twisted mystery

cry blue murderTITLE = CRY BLUE MURDER

AUTHOR = KIM KANE & MARION ROBERTS

GENRE = CRIME, MYSTERY

INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 8 – 10

This is an unusual mystery story with a powerful sting awaiting readers in the final pages. Part of the uniqueness of the story lies in the way it is told for it does not use the normal narrative path. It opens with a list of witnesses followed by a Facebook page, which has been set up following the disappearance of a Melbourne schoolgirl. Two contributors to the Facebook page become online friends And much of the story is revealed via their emails and texts to each other. Celia is a schoolgirl in Melbourne, upset by the local mystery and as a new girl at her school, feeling a tad friendless and lonely. She is pleased to have an eager audience in Alice, who used to live in Melbourne but is now at a boarding school in Mildura. Both are having a difficult time with their families so much of the story unfolds slowly as the 2 girls discuss their lives. The central mystery slips to the background until a second girl disappears. 

Interspersed between the emails are newspaper articles and interview transcripts with witnesses and/or possible suspects, so the reader is in a good position to play detective. Whether they will see the shock coming at the end of the story remains to be seen!

An entertaining story told in an unusual way.

Recommended (dma) ***

A Sherlock Holmes rewrite set in Melbourne!

TITLE = EVERY BREATH 

AUTHOR = ELLIE MARNEY

GENRE = CRIME, MYSTERY, FAMILY, FRIENDSHIP, RELATIONSHIPS, LITERARY REMAKE

INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 9 – 12

What a great read from a new YA author! If you enjoy crime fiction and especially if you enjoy Sherlock Holmes , then you are sure to enjoy this novel, set in modern day Melbourne.

Young James Mycroft (whose surname recalls Sherlock Holme’s highly intelligent older brother) is a self-confessed genius, with some seriously flawed social skills. Some might call him eccentric – like his good friend, Rachel Watts. Some might just call him an annoying pest – like some of his teachers and Detective Pickup, who would actually rather like to arrest Mycroft!

When Mycroft and Watts stumble upon a dead homeless man (who was a friend of Mycroft’s) their desire to see justice done is aroused. With his intelligence piqued and an interest in forensics, Mycroft thinks he can solve the crime before the appointed detectives. Especially with his faithful sidekick, Watts, along for the ride. However, whilst Watts may be good at patching up Mycroft’s battle scars, her sense of daring may actually endanger them both.

There are delicious nods to the original Sherlock Holmes canon – in the names and personalities of the main characters, even down to the blog that Mycroft writes (as “Diogenes”). But even those readers who are not Holmes fans will enjoy this novel. It blends fast-paced action with credible characters and situations. The key characters have to battle against interfering families, school work and detention,  as they try to stay one step ahead of the game.

Is Mycroft too much for Watts to handle? Can Mycroft save Watts from herself? And are they really just friends, as they keep telling everyone? A highly entertaining story about 2 teens trying to see justice done .. and stay alive to sit their next exams!   

This book has been Longlisted for the 2014 Gold Inky award.

Highly Recommended (dma) ***** 

A crime story within a crime story

TITLE = KILLING RACHEL (The Murder Notebooks #2)

AUTHOR = ANNE CASSIDY

GENRE = MYSTERY, CRIME, FAMILY, FRIENDSHIP, ROMANCE

INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 9 -10

This is a clever crime story within a crime story. Rose and Josh are searching for their parents. For 3 years, Anne and her mum and Josh and his dad lived together like a family. Both parents also worked together in the police force but when they went missing one night (5 years ago) Rose was sent to live with her gran whilst Josh lived with his uncle. Reunited after 5 years, the pair are itching to find out about their parents’ disappearance. As no bodies have been found they live in hopes of finding them alive.

Whilst Josh is intent on following some new leads, Rose has a mystery of her own to solve. She has been receiving letters and phone calls from an ex-school friend, Rachel, begging for help but given how badly their friendship went, Rose was in no hurry to get involved. And now it is too late. Rachel has died under mysterious circumstances.

Can Rose solve the puzzle of Rachel’s death and has Josh really stumbled on new leads or is he reaching at straws?? And why hasn’t he been answering his calls?

This is a well plotted mystery story. Although it is the 2nd in a series of 4 books readers won’t need to have read book 1 to pick up the story line her – but they are sure to want to read the next 2 books in the series.

Recommended (dma) ***

Action, mystery, crime and science … a great combo!

TITLE = VIRALS

AUTHOR = KATHY REICHS

GENRE = CRIME, MYSTERY, ADVENTURE

INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 8 AND UP

Tory Brennan is related to the famous forensic anthropologist and crime author, Tempe Brennan. In fact, she seems like a younger version of Tempe:  highly intelligent, outspoken and driven to solve mysteries, especially when they involve dead bodies. And like her aunt, she is a risk taker – willing to stand up to authorities and put her own life on the line.

So when Tory and her friends find an old dog tag in the forest, they are not afraid to break into the nearby labs where their parents work, to do a bit of research. And when this research leads to the discovery of a sick dog and a dead body, the teens are up for the challenge. Even if this means more breaking and entering, a bit of dognapping and some clever computer hacking. Even if they are occasionally shot at and chased by the police!

However, they don’t expect that a dog virus might cause unexpected changes in their bodies. And Tory doesn’t expect to have to fight for her own life.

Action packed from the very first page and with a strong and credible cast of characters – a must read for lovers of crime and adventure.

Highly Recommended (dma) *****