Monday, July 18, 2016

Review: Running Girl by Simon Mason

When it comes to solving a crime, two brains and one incredibly high IQ are better than one.

Running Girl

by Simon Mason

Release Date: August 30, 2016
Publisher & ARC: David Fickling Books
ISBN: 9781338036428
Ages: 14+


From award-winning British author Simon Mason comes Running Girl a smart, engaging murder mystery filled with unexpected twists and turns perfect for Sherlock and CSI fans. Sixteen-year-old Garvie Smith is the smartest and laziest student at Marsh Academy. Constantly in trouble with his mother and school officials, Garvie finds little point to life and especially school. Garvie's aimless existence is challenged when news of the disappearance and murder of a fellow schoolmate and old girlfriend spreads. 

Garvie, known to his friends as "Sherlock" because of his ability to solve any puzzle, begins to piece together clues, leading him directly into the center of an intense murder investigation. He constantly interferes with police evidence, crime scenes, and Detective Inspector  Singh of the City Squad. Detective Inspector Singh is a serious man and finds no humor in Garvie's meddling or his know-it-all attitude, but when Singh is at the end of his rope, it's Garvie's photographic memory, keen eye, and knowledge that help him and the squad come closer to solving this unthinkable crime.

Simon Mason has written both children's and adult books. His first adult novel, a black comedy entitled The Great English Nude, won a Betty Trask Award, and his previous book for children, Moon Pie, was shortlisted for the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize. Running Girl is Simon's first story starring Garvie Smith. Smith lives in Oxford, England, with his wife and their two children.

Hit the Jump for the Review

I knew from the description that I was going to love this book. Following a carefree sixteen year old boy as he tries to put together the clues of his ex-girlfriend's death? How does that not sound exciting. As the description above suggests, if you love figuring out clues to challenging puzzles, you will love this book as well. Follow Garvie Smith as he stays a step head of the police! 

Garvie isn't your typical teenager, and that's what makes the book even better. It's not about a do-gooder trying to figure out a mysterious death because he wants to help (though Garvie does have that side buried inside him). He wants to figure it out because he is so intelligent, he feels like it is his duty to solve the puzzle. While Garvie does often come across as entitled, the reader never loses touch with him and roots for him to work out the clues. Garvie's relationship with his mother is interesting as well, as she is growing even more frustrated with his lack of focus on his school work. So much so that she threatens to move jobs to Barbados unless he passes his exams. Leaving his friends behind isn't something that he wants, so he has to try to stop interfering with the investigation and focus on studying. 

While Garvie can blend in and out of areas he shouldn't be able to, Inspector Singh has a more difficult time finding out what happened to Chloe Dow. And it doesn't help that everywhere he turns, Garvie is a step ahead of him. Even though they converse periodically, the dual narratives of the characters match well throughout the book. It really feels like you're watching a movie, Gone Girl meets Paper Towns, as you follow the twists and turns of the plot. 

Make sure you have some time set aside for this one--you won't be able to put it down once you start!