Review Blog

May 22 2014

Crooked Leg Road by Jennifer Walsh

cover image

Allen & Unwin, 2014. ISBN: 9781743316931
(Age: 10-12) Highly recommended. Both boys and girls who enjoy mystery/adventure stories will love this new book from Jennifer Walsh. Somewhat like a contemporary, fast-paced Famous Five but much edgier - a group of friends from Balmain become embroiled in a dangerous game of political intrigue and financial misappropriations. David, Martin, Kitty and Andrea are both friends and schoolmates, each with their own interests and strengths, who combine well as a group hanging together in the regular sense. When David mysteriously disappears, feared kidnapped, his friends pool their combined observations and knowledge with some startling results.
Parallel to this plot are timely ideas such as multiculturalism, ethics in positions of power, judgemental behaviour, tolerance and acceptance and friendships. New girl, Samantha, who is despised in general, because of her 'posh' background and ineffectual attempts to impress, and mysterious new boy, Skender, technically a 'boat person' and whose family comes under suspicion by the sleuthing teens, add a depth to the plot that leads the reader to examine initial perceptions of 'outsiders'.
Thoroughly engaging and completely compulsive reading (I read it in one sitting) - this is a real page turner with very plausible plot, characterisations and complications/resolutions.
Highly recommended for readers 10 and up, put this one on the shopping list for any of those readers who are looking for an exciting read.
Watch the trailer.
Visit the author's website.
Jennifer Walsh writes children's books under this name and adult books under Jennifer Spence (she is married to Bruce Spence, the actor) and lives in Balmain, Sydney. Her previous book The tunnels of Tarcoola featured the abandoned coal mines under that suburb and her new book Crooked Leg Road is also set in this lively and historic area. Stay tuned for a Q&A coming up soon on this blog!
Sue Warren

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