Review - EVERY WORD, Ellie Marney
A young adult crime fiction series, the "EVERY" books from Ellie Marney are a pitch perfect example of YA that works for young and old. Particularly the old that can still remember how complicated first love was, and the young that are experiencing the same.
Following on closely in time and events from the first book EVERY BREATH, James Mycroft is still limping from close encounters in that book, and Rachel Watts is still semi-grounded by her parents. Certainly they aren't happy about Watts spending too much up close and personal time with Mycroft, and they probably aren't wrong to be a bit concerned:
"I can say that now: my boyfriend. It took me a while to get used to the words. I'm still getting used to the way my body reacts when Mycroft and I touch: this hot flush goes right through me. My mind goes on vacation, and my breathing catches, so I'm gasping every time he does simple things - putting his arm around my shoulders, or touching his lips gently to mine, like now."
Refreshingly this relationship isn't all girlish flutterings. Rachel might be having to process the effect that Mycroft has on her physically, but she's also acutely aware that mentally, she's the stronger of the two. Mycroft's past continues to haunt him, and whether he likes to admit it or not, he needs her calming, rational presence. So she has no compunction whatsoever when it comes to getting on a plane and following him to London when he suddenly drops everything and heads that way. Now I know what many readers will be thinking. A seventeen year old girl just ups and gets on a plane? I will admit to thinking the same thing at one stage - before I realised that it's been an era or two since I was that age, and whilst in our day, acts of pushing the boundaries didn't necessarily involve stacking up the air miles, it certainly could have involved striking out on our own, no matter how much of a hissy fit our parents threw.
The investigation thread in EVERY WORD is complicated - a man dies in England in circumstances eerily similar to the death of Mycroft's own parents. A valuable Shakespeare First Folio had gone missing from his workplace, and there's no clear lead on what could have happened to it. Mycroft's ability to get involved is via the Forensic specialist Doctor that he works part-time with. Called into consult on the death in London because the dead man is Australian makes enough sense to keep the reader in the story. Mycroft accompanying him to England equally makes enough sense not to clang. And in a testament to both the pace of the story, and the strength of the writing, Rachel following afterwards also makes sense. What happens to them all in England works, as do events on their return to Australia.
Part of what makes all this work is that some of the specialised knowledge, the science used throughout the book is believable. The idea that two teenagers might escape a dire situation based on a bit of basic chemistry knowledge worked:
"He rattles the contents of an open box, angles it toward the light. 'Toilet cleaner. Two cans of air freshener. Insect spray. Toilet paper. And a bunch of bathroom cupboard knobs, with accompanying screws. ... 'If I had some foil - '. 'There's foil.' I say sharply. 'I've got foil. That kebab wrapping in the corner.'"
The great strength really of the "EVERY" series is the two central characters. Their "teenageness" feels right. Their relationship fits the bill. Their impulsiveness and their care spot on. And the reactions of their families, friends and colleagues just work.
"... Dad's on shift, but he said to say welcome home.' 'Okay,' I say slowly. 'But .... what about Mum?' Mike sighs and hunkers down to my level. 'Mum's a bit trickier.'
Perfect for any teenager's in your life, a good read for those of us older (in some cases way way older) than that, the "EVERY" series is a wonderful entry in the Australian Crime Fiction canon. The third book in the series, EVERY MOVE, will be released in March, 2015.
James Mycroft has just left for London to investigate a car accident similar to the one that killed his parents seven years ago...without saying goodbye to Rachel Watts, his 'partner in crime'.
Rachel is furious and worried about his strange behaviour - not that Mycroft's ever exactly normal, but London is the scene of so many of his nightmares. So Rachel jumps on a plane to follow him...and lands straight in a whole storm of trouble.
The theft of a copy of Shakespeare's First Folio, the possible murder of a rare books conservator, and the deaths of Mycroft's parents...Can Watts help Mycroft make sense of the three events - or will she lose him forever?
Sparks fly when Watts and Mycroft reunite in this second sophisticated thriller about the teen sleuthing duo.