Review Blog

Jan 31 2018

Rain Fall by Ella West

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Allen and Unwin, 2018. ISBN 9781760296834
(Age: 12+) Highly recommended. Themes: Murder. Crime. Thriller. New Zealand. Coal mining. Rodeos. Horses. Annie is running late for her basketball game when she spots what looks like a raincoat floating in the river. Then her whole neighbourhood is cordoned off by police who say that her neighbour is dangerous and has a gun. She doesn't believe that her neighbour Pete would hurt anyone and hopes that he has got away. When riding her horse, Blue, on the beach, she comes in contact with a new boy riding an amazing horse, but not trusting strangers is careful to brush away any signs of Pete. Then a body is found and Annie becomes embroiled in the mystery.
The constant rain provides a good background for this crime thriller and it is easy to visualise the wild coast of New Zealand. The story of coal mining and its demise also provides an interesting backdrop to the tale as West describes what happens when a community loses its only means of livelihood. Annie's father drives the coal train and when the mine begins to fail, so do the jobs that keep the town going. Annie's having troubles at home as well, with her father uncertain about his job and the family is faced with the prospect of moving away from their home.
However it is the mystery that really grips the reader, who becomes immersed in what is happening. Why was the man murdered? Is Pete really to blame and where has he gone? How far can Annie trust Jack the new boy who is so attractive and can she keep her actions a secret from her parents for very long?
This is a great read and will appeal to people who like mystery and suspense, with a touch of romance and interesting background. In addition there are two wonderful horses, some information about rodeos and likeable characters, all adding up to a most enjoyable story. Readers who haven't read Night vision by Ella West would want to pick up this excellent book as well, and teachers could find this a useful class novel or literature circle text. Teacher's notes are available on the publisher's website.
Pat Pledger

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