Review Blog

Nov 02 2015

Trouble Is a Friend of Mine by Stephanie Tromly

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Hot Key Books, 2015. ISBN 9781471404856
(Age: 14+) Recommended. Crime. After her parent's divorce, Zoe has moved to a new school where she meet the weird and brilliant Philip Digby and finds herself involved in his search for the kidnapper of a teenage girl. Digby's sister had disappeared years before and he is convinced that this disappearance has something to do with it. Digby trusts Zoe because she isn't connected with anyone from the past, and together they go on some hair raising adventures where they uncover a criminal gynaecologist and strange cult.
Digby's behaviour is so incongruous that he manages to fascinate the more up-tight Zoe, who is aiming to get back to an elite boarding school and not become involved with anyone in her public school. Digby comes and goes from school; is dressed in strange clothes (often a suit), and is really rude to everyone. However she is a very curious girl and can't resist being dragged on one dare-devil stunt after another as they chase the clues to the teen's disappearance. Any romance is played down and the action and search are the focal point of the story.
Narrated by Zoe, this is a fast-paced thriller that is lifted from the ordinary by very witty and sarcastic dialogue, much of which had me laughing out loud at times. The relationship between Zoe and her mother was also a highlight as her mother's character and interests gradually emerged, and Zoe began to understand what it was like to be a single parent and to leave a difficult relationship.
This is a fun, escapist story that will appeal to readers who enjoy crime stories and off-beat characters. Although it definitely reads as a stand-alone, there are some threads to the story that haven't been unravelled so a sequel when it appears is sure to appeal.
Pat Pledger

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