CM . . .
. Volume XI Number 13 . . . . March 4, 2005
This first novel of Canadian author Brenda Chapman is likely to make her a favourite among young mystery readers. The title and cover both predict a story full of scary events, and the tension begins to build in the first ten pages.
Thirteen-year-old Jennifer Bannon is protagonist of the story and deals with many typical teen stresses: homework, bad marks in grade nine, making the volleyball team, boys....to say nothing of the recent breakdown of her parents' marriage. But then things get really difficult when Jennifer sees a hit and run accident and is sure the car belongs to her father. The tension mounts with anonymous phone calls, suspicious people following Jennifer, anonymous notes, and an "accident" which befalls her younger sister, Leslie. The horror affects Jennifer's relationships with everyone in her family and with her friends as well. Jennifer has a tough decision to make: tell everything she knows and risk hurting someone she cares about or remain quiet and keep secrets.
The tension and excitement build early in this novel, and Chapman manages to cast suspicion equally on several characters, keeping the reader guessing right to the end of the book. The final solution is somewhat contrived, but this doesn't detract from a successful novel. Chapman's work is certain to please mystery fans and may convert other readers to the genre.
Ann Ketcheson is a former teacher of high school English and French and currently is the teacher-librarian at Peterborough Collegiate in Peterborough, ON.
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