By Elizabeth George
Published by Hodder
ISBN 978 1 4444 71997 0
Elizabeth George is an American writer of adult mystery novels, with 18 international bestsellers behind her. She is a classy author, and her novels are always strong on plot and character. The Edge of Nowhere is her first novel for the young adult market, and George sensibly sticks to the winning formula of her adult books.
After experiencing this taster, you will no doubt want to move on to the author's adult mysteries. But the book is not just a clever marketing ploy to lead young readers into an established author's catalogue of bestsellers. George respects her readers too much to simply churn out a lower quality novel to grab a younger set of readers. Other writers of adult fiction please take note.
Teenager Becca King has the ability to read other people's thoughts, and what she has just discovered about her stepfather is terrifying. George gives her central character this well-worn sci-fi ability but the rest of the story is very much grounded in reality. Becca learns that her stepfather has murdered his business partner; but she doesn't have any concrete evidence to present to the police. She tells her mother, and the two of them leave their home to escape, afraid of what might happen next.
The novel's initial set-up is a bit clunky, but once Becca and her mother get on the road, the excitement and suspense kick in very quickly. Laurel, Becca's mum, forms a plan. Becca can go and stay with her old friend Carol, who lives on an isolated island, while Laurel herself goes in search of a new permanent home well away from shadowy step-dad. But in the tradition of mystery thrillers, things don't go as planned.
Becca arrives alone on the island, but there is no one to meet her. And she can't get in touch with her mother on her cellphone. Things get worse when Becca discovers that her mum's friend has recently died. What should she do? She is all alone in an unfamiliar place. A local woman befriends her and offers her a room until her mum can be reached. Is everything as it seems? Has Becca been dumped on the island for some sinister purpose?
In mystery thrillers like this, it is best not to ask too many questions or scoff at the implausibilities of the plot, and to just let yourself get carried along. George has created an interesting set of characters to beef up the plot and there are many twists and turns. Some thriller fans might find this all a bit too tame, but others will enjoy the central mystery and be left asking for more.
John Millen can be contacted on MillenBookshelf@aol.com