Every breath by Ellie Marney

cover image

Allen and Unwin, 2013. ISBN 978 1 74331 642 9
(Age: 13+) Recommended. Crime. Rachel Watts, recently moved to the city after her parents' farm has been taken by the bank, has met and teamed up with a neighbour who also goes to her school, Mycroft. The link between their names is obvious, and the two with Mycroft's prodding form a team to solve crime. Mycroft is already heavily involved, setting up a lab of sorts for forensic testing, and following crimes with an obsessive interest. He has shadows in his life, however, and these are hinted at through the story. And always in Watts' background is her love of the farm and desire to return. Her anger with her parents for coming to the city and their slavish devotion to working non stop to pay off their debts causes rancour in the family.
When the two find their homeless friend, Dave, with his throat cut, and his dog missing, Mycroft sets to work. Hie photographs of the scene of the crime are scrutinised and he revisits the scene trying to find clues and deduce what may have happened. Tenuous connections lead him to a group of graffiti artists and from there, they track down people at the zoo, where Mycroft's odd guardian aunt, Angela works.
When the zoo director is killed and his strange daughter goes missing, they use a friend to reenter the zoo after hours and talk to him in his laboratory about poisons. A wrong move!
A fast paced story of crime and sleuthing, the links to Sherlock Holmes make this a fascinating parallel to those stories of old, and the characters of Mycroft and Watts reflect those of Sherlock and Watson in the original books in a modern setting. All good fun as the clues lead them all the time to the zoo and in a heart stopping climax the pair is thrown to the lions.
A sequel, Every move, is to be released soon and should be just as much fun to read.
Fran Knight