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Posts Tagged ‘crime’

Monster by Walter Dean Myers, adapted by Guy A. Sims, illus. Dawud Anyabwile.

June 25, 2019 Comments off

MonsterMonster by Walter Dean Myers, adapted by Guy A. Sims, illus. Dawud Anyabwile. Pub. HarperCollins, 2015.

This is one of the most powerful graphic novels I have read and if I wanted to deter anybody from pursuing a criminal career that could lead to jail I would get them to read this novel.

It is the story a teenage boy, Steve, who is asked to be a lookout and to case a drugstore that two hardened criminals plan to rob. The robbery goes badly and the shop owner is killed. Steve and his two alleged partners in crime stand trial for the murder and face life in jail if convicted.

The story of the trial is powerful as Steve learns of the horrors of prison life and has to face his parents. He learns too that criminals do not tell the truth and will do anything to get off even if it means implicating others.

The graphic illustrations are outstanding and will live in your memory long after you finish the novel. Plus there is a filmic quality to the novel with Steve seeing everything as though he was making a film about it.

Stunning stuff for visual learners of high school age.

To Trap a Thief by Des Hunt

April 16, 2019 Comments off

trap thiefTo Trap a Thief by Des Hunt. Pub Scholastic, 2019.

Another exciting adventure novel from a master children’s writer. Once again it is kids verses the adults and the kids are going to win but not before they are put through their paces and a lot of things have changed.

Set in the top half of the South Island from Nelson across to Motueka, Takaka and the Abel Tasman National Park, the backdrop of all the action is melded into the magnificence of this part of new Zealand.

Connors dad died in a plane crash and his mother has taken up with a good man called Morgan. Unfortunately Morgan’s mum and dad don’t like the relationship. To give things a trial Connor and his friend Harvey go on a camping trip in a motorised caravan with Rosen and Denzel, his possible future step grandparents. There is friction. But before all is worked out there are codes to break and a thief to catch.

Before the trip Denzel and Rosen won Lotto and others feel that it was from a ticket that they lost. Is it true? On the trip the boys are roped into a Quest via cell phone and a smooth operator called Frank has a mission of his own.

Easy to read in short chapters with plenty of excitement to lure in the most reluctant readers. Intermediate and Junior secondary.

Bad Dad by David Walliams. Illus. Tony Ross

December 2, 2017 Comments off

bad dadBad Dad by David Walliams. Illus. Tony Ross. Pub. HarperCollins, 2017.

You don’t need to advertise these novels kids all know about them as soon as they are out.

The usual smattering of silliness which you wish was true, with goodies taking on baddies and winning. This time we have a bad dad who isn’t bad, a vicar without a congregation, a mini called Queenie, an aunt who can’t write poetry and three villains-Mr Big, Fingers and Thumbs who are just classic and right out of a Jimmy Cagney movie.

The down trodden are 11 year old Frank and his stockcar driving father Gilbert who losses a leg, a wife and his self respect but not the love of his son.

The minor characters are a treat especially the local copper Sergeant Scoff and perennial newsagent and all round good guy if a little mingy, Raj.

Great for anyone with a silly sense of humour and especially for reluctant readers. As usual Tony Ross’s illustrations are superb.

I loved it. But wait there’s more. We have a gay relationship to ponder and it will make you happy.

Into the World by Ted Dawe.

May 20, 2016 Comments off

into the worldInto the World by Ted Dawe. Pub Mangakino University Press, 2016. http://www.teddawe.com.

This sequel to the award winning and controversial Into the River is tuff, raw, emotional, at times unbelievable but always riveting. It continues the descent into hell of innocent Maori boy Te Arepa who has morphed into the devious but likeable Public school educated Devon Santos.

Expelled from school this novel starts 10 minutes after Into the River with Devon deciding to stay in Auckland and not go back to his Whanau. Big mistake.

Devon contacts his school mate Mitch who is now the gopher or bitch to Rebel who is a skinhead and into drugs, midnight autos and the seedy street life. Devon finds work and accommodation with Martin and his wife Gail and learns what it is like to be used.

When that ends he is taken in by Mitch and the skinheads and it is all downhill. Prison is the inevitable ending but you know that Devon has been unlucky, he has been dealt a bad hand.

A new Corrections Department initiative throws Devon a lifeline and he grabs it with both hands and is taken in by a rich philanthropic rich man called Wes. Life begins to look sweet for Devon, he is intelligent, willing and adaptable. Then he meets Ella. The rest is dramatic reading.

Superbly written by Ted Dawe in  three parts with short sharp chapters. The story moves fast like the cars Devon drives and the street talk and dialogue is a feature of the novel.

The question that is asked is does Devon really have a chance in life? School alienated him from his culture and whanau and in this book he still hides his Maori upbringing. What options does he have after prison? Can any one be totally rehabilitated? Does society give Devon or any prisoner for that matter, a chance?

Ted Dawe throws up a lot of social issues. The role of father is a massive issue in this novel both for boys and girls. I like his style, but some may not. Whatever you think it is damn good writing.

Certainly senior secondary and young adult.

Two Wolves by Tristan Bancks.

March 26, 2014 Comments off

two wolvesTwo Wolves by Tristan Bancks. Pub. Random House, 2014.

“Is it possible to outrun the blood you have inherited, to become somebody else?” This quote from the book is the theme to this exciting, thought provoking and stunning novel for high school students and young adults.

Ben is 13 years old with a love of film making and he wants to be a cop when he grows up. His father even calls him Cop. Olive his sister is 7 years old and is built of stern stuff too. Their mother is dominated by  their criminally minded father and one day a stroke of luck comes their way.

A bank error to the tune of $7.2 million dollars has the whole family on the run on outback Australia. Ben and Olivia know nothing of what is happening until an incident with a police patrol car has them fleeing like the devil himself was after them.

They hole up in a hut, tensions are high and Ben soon works out what has occurred. High drama begins and ends with a stunning father / son confrontation.

A million dollars can buy a lot of happy but is it worth it?  Everybody has a choice and Ben learns to exercise his.

A compulsive read that will keep the reader on edge. One of the best novels I have read this year.