For a while, I’ve known Gilly Macmillan was an author I wanted to check out. In searching for thriller recommendations for a customer, her name popped up, and I’ve been biding my time ever since. When the advanced copy of her upcoming book, Odd Child Out, was up for grabs, I didn’t waste a minute snagging it.
Odd Child Out is the story of two teenage boys, Noah Sadler and Abdi Mahad, best friends, at least until Noah is found unconscious in the canal and Abdi, the only one who knows what happened, isn’t speaking. His silence and Noah’s condition makes for the perfect sensational story for an unethical cop turned crime reporter, who paints the situation as an inverted racial crime perpetrated by Abdi, a Somali refugee, and Noah, born and bred Brit.
Detective Jim Clemo, just back from mandatory leave prompted by another case involving minors and tragedy, is dedicated to finding the truth, even though it tries his new-found patience, and requires limited interaction with his ex, the unethical reporter.
While the tragedy at the canal is the catalyst for the story, within the lives of Abdi and his family, so much more is going on. And as everyone chases the truth about what happened at the canal, Abdi is caught up in his own pursuit, chasing the truth about his own life.
Macmillan’s book was an enjoyable read. Not quite as suspenseful as I would have liked, as I guessed at most of the ending, but that didn’t make it any less enjoyable to read. And for many, the twists will still come as surprises, there wasn’t much information, just a lucky guess on my part, I guess.
Macmillan writes in present tense, from everyone’s perspective, which makes for a little bit of a different style of read, but I think it worked for her, allowing the reader to feel different emotions in “real time,” as it were.
The book also touches on, and handles very well, several different sensitive subjects, including suicide, immigration, stereotyping, and backgrounds. As Macmillan writes about these different things, it’s clear she’s done her research to know how her characters would react, given their history and background, and she finds the right ways to articulate the emotions–sorrow, anger, and fear.
Conclusion: Gilly Macmillan is still on my list of authors to read more of– especially since this seemed like a second novel about Detective Inspector Clemo. I can also recommend her in full confidence, having read something of hers myself. If you enjoy suspense thrillers and investigation books, look for Odd Child Out, coming in October.