________________ CM . . . . Volume XXI Number 1. . . .September 5, 2014


From the Dead. (The Seven Sequels).

Norah McClintock.
Victoria, BC: Orca, 2014.
268 pp., trade pbk., pdf & epub, $10.95 (pbk.).
ISBN 978-1-4598-0537-8 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-4598-0538-5 (pdf), ISBN 978-1-4598-0539-2 (epub).

Grades 5-8 / Ages 10-13.

Review by Kay Weisman.

**** /4

Reviewed from Advance Reading Copy.



If anyone had told me I’d be standing, by choice, ankle-deep in snow and ice in a crummy neighborhood in Detroit four nights after Christmas, I would have said they were crazy. First of all, I don’t know a single person in Detroit. Second, who in their right mind would choose Detroit as a destination, especially in the winter? Third, who would choose to land in a neighborhood that, as far as I can see—which isn’t far because there are no streetlights—is on the downward slope to oblivion? Finally, who in his right mind would choose to subject himself to cold, dreary, depressed Detroit because of something that happened half a century ago and that no one—well, almost no one—remembered or even cared about?

But here I am, and it’s all my cousin Adam’s fault. I’ll get to that.


Seventeen-year-old Rennie Charbonneau is enjoying a warm Christmas break in Uruguay with his dad when he receives an email from his cousin Adam. Adam and his other cousins have discovered a cache of passports, foreign currencies, and a mysterious notebook hidden at their dead grandfather’s cottage. The evidence is puzzling. Was their grandfather, David McLean, a spy? A traitor? Did he really help a Nazi criminal escape from Argentina to the United States? Rennie is up for the adventure, and so he sets off for Argentina and then Detroit in search of answers to these questions.

      In Detroit, Rennie meets the Forrester family which includes the elderly Curtis (whose room is a treasure trove of Nazi memorabilia), his son Gerry (long unemployed) and teens Katya and the troubled Eric. Curtis is not particularly forthcoming with answers to Rennie’s questions, Gerry and Katya are unfriendly, and a seemingly innocent good deed for Eric leads to the murder of an undercover police officer and Rennie being taken in by the police for questioning.

      This followup to Close to the Heel, part of “Seven the Series,” rounds out the “Seven Sequels” series. As always with McClintock, this novel offers intricate plotting and well-developed, multidimensional characters. Clues are revealed slowly, but the action never drags, and surprises lurk around every corner. The Detroit setting (including its many distressed residents) is also carefully drawn, particularly with regard to its high incidence of gun violence.

      McClintock carefully ties up all the loose ends of this mystery, but the onion-like character of David McLean clearly holds many more secrets just waiting to be peeled away. This book stands alone, but why miss the others in the series?

Highly Recommended.

Kay Weisman, a librarian and reviewer, now writes “Information Matters” for School Library Monthly and works as a youth librarian at West Vancouver Memorial Library.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
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The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
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