Review Blog

Aug 13 2010

Five parts dead by Tim Pegler

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Text Publishing, 2010. ISBN 9781921656286.
(Age 14+) Highly recommended. Dan is dragged off for a family holiday on a remote island. It's the last thing that he wants to do. He is still grieving the loss of three of his mates in a devastating car accident that has left him on crutches and another friend brain damaged. While staying in the old cottage once belonging to the lighthouse keeper, he feels the presence of a mysterious girl and begins to delve into her tragic past with the aid of the lighthouse keeper's log and his twin sister's friend, Pip.
There are two mysteries in this book, how the tragic drink driving accident occurred and what happened to the girl who lived on the island many years ago. Each is completely engrossing.
Pegler explores in depth the consequences of teenage drink driving.  In a cleverly crafted exposition, the reader gradually learns the events leading up to the tragic accident for which Dan is blamed by the parents and relatives of the boys who were killed. The themes of partying, peer pressure, not dobbing your mates in and underage drinking are examined in a situation that many teens would be familiar with. Dan's luck in dodging the Grim Reaper after a series of almost lethal accidents is also explored as he tries to comes to grips with what has happened.
Running parallel to the mystery of the accident is the puzzle of the young Miss Wilton, who has been left without a family and resources when her father died. I was fascinated to follow the historical events described in the lighthouse keeper's log - the death of her father, the petty quarrels among the three families looking after the lighthouse, a shipwreck and the arrival of a sailor. Dan's quest to find out what has happened helps him face life again.
Pegler's strong characterisation, his authentic dialogue and a touch of romance make this a great read.
Pat Pledger

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