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No Way to Go by Bernard Ashley

No Way To Go by Bernard Ashley. Pub. Orchard Books, 2009

Jacqueline Wilson described this book as “a tautly written, tough-talking teenage crime story”  but it is a little bit more than that. This is also a profile of a hard urban culture that has evolved in British cities. A hardness that begins in the home, flows over into schools and leads to a spiritless, don’t give a damn attitude that is epitomised in the gang cultures that menace the lives of ordinary people.

This is the story of 10 year old Connor Long who falls from a 10 story building. There are three ways of falling from a building – you can jump, be pushed or slip. Connor’s 17 year old sister thinks he was pushed and the solving of this crime is the gist of the story.

The role of the press, of the police, of the school and of a persons friends are also developed and Bernard Ashley’s stand on gangs is “if the home is fine, the gangs have no attraction”. In this story Connor’s father is in jail, his mother is a drunk but his sister Amber cares.

The story becomes involved with other aspects of the crime scene such as gangs, the drug wars,  the niteclub scene and racial issues. It is a portrait of a society falling apart, but the action is thrilling and the ending has you on the edge of your seat.

Suitable High School students who want something different. There are not many teenage crime stories out there and Bernard Ashley is an expperienced writer who has put this story together well.

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