________________ CM . . . . Volume XXIII Number 6 . . . . October 14, 2016


From Above. (A Riley Donovan Mystery).

Norah McClintock.
Toronto, ON: Scholastic Canada, 2016.
226 pp., trade pbk., pdf & epub., $10.95 (pbk.).
ISBN 978-1-4598-0933-8 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-4598-0934-5 (pdf), ISBN 978-1-4598-0935-2 (epub).

Grades 7-10 / Ages 12-15.

Review by Chris Laurie.

**** /4

Reviewed from Advance Reading Copy.



"So you know the victim?"

"Victim? So you think he was murdered?"

A look of annoyance flickered across his face. "I'm using victim in the sense of someone who was injured."

"Injured? You mean he's not dead? But I thought the paramedics said—"

"No, I don't mean that." His face turned from ruddy to ruddy pink to burgundy, a sign, I'd learned from experience, of impatience. "What, if anything, do you know about what happened?"

"Nothing." I hesitated for a second before adding, "Except that I think there was someone else on the roof."

Riley Donovan's school day is shattered when a tragic fall causes the death of one of her classmates. Screams from the schoolyard draw Riley to the scene seconds after the lifeless body of Ethan, a local football hero, is found on the ground below the recreation centre's deck. Glancing upwards, Riley is sure she sees another figure vanishing from view.

      Riley's possible love interest, Charlie, is incriminated in the accident after multiple witnesses recall seeing his bright yellow jacket near the recreation centre's staircase. Riley's frustration builds because Charlie is clearly not being completely honest with her. She knows Charlie is innocent, and she is determined to untangle the mystery. After questioning some of the late player's teammates, Riley discovers that, not only did some of the players have a grudge against Ethan, but Ethan had recently broken up with his girlfriend and had a falling out with his coach, a coach surrounded by rumours of dealing steroids. As numerous suspects begin to emerge, it's increasingly unclear whether the fall was an accident or a crime.

      From Above – the second book in the "Riley Donovan Mystery" series, the first being Trial By Fire – is a highly enjoyable page tuner with all the clues careful readers will need to solve the mystery. Riley is a very likable and confident teen who, while respectful of others, doesn't hesitant to speak her mind. Riley's aunt and guardian is a straight laced police detective who does not like Riley trying to interfere with procedure. However, there is some unofficial sharing of information between the two. Riley is adept at having a nice meal or hot bath at the ready for her aunt and plenty of time for conversation and reading between the lines. Especially enjoyable is Riley's verbal sparring with Detective Sergeant Martin, her aunt's stern boss. Secondary characters are not as well developed, but readers are likely to get better acquainted with them in upcoming instalments.

      Norah McClintock is a five time winner of the Crime Writers of Canada's Arthur Ellis Award for crime fiction for young people. She is the author of more than sixty YA novels, including books in "Seven The Series", "The Seven Sequels" and the "Secrets" series. Norah lives in Toronto, ON.

Highly Recommended.

Chris Laurie is an Outreach Librarian at Winnipeg Public 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
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.

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