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Review ❤️ Odd Child Out by Gilly Macmillan

November 8, 2017

odd child out gilly macmillan

 How well do you know the people you love…?

Best friends Noah Sadler and Abdi Mahad have always been inseparable.  But when Noah is found floating unconscious in Bristol’s Feeder Canal, Abdi can’t–or won’t–tell anyone what happened.

Just back from a mandatory leave following his last case, Detective Jim Clemo is now assigned to look into this unfortunate accident.  But tragedy strikes and what looked like the simple case of a prank gone wrong soon ignites into a public battle.  Noah is British.  Abdi is a Somali refugee.   And social tensions have been rising rapidly in Bristol.  Against this background of fear and fury two families fight for their sons and for the truth.  Neither of them know how far they will have to go, what demons they will have to face, what pain they will have to suffer.

Because the truth hurts.

Release Date: Oct 3, 2017
Publisher: HarperCollins
Imprint: William Morrow
Price: $9.99


Detective Inspector Jim Clemo has just returned to work in Bristol, England’s Criminal Investigations Department after a six-month leave of absence. He is partnered with Detective Constable Justin Woodley, who is also getting over a difficult case. The new case they’re assigned to at first appears to be straightforward. Fifteen-year-old Noah Sadler is found in a canal and is now in critical condition and his best friend, Abdi Mahad, who was found next to the canal, is in shock and also hospitalized. Both boys are unable to talk and the press is trying to put a racial spin on the events. Clemo doesn’t think this is a simple accident, but is getting pressure for a quick resolution to the case. However, as the investigation continues, Clemo and Woodley learn the boys aren’t the only ones with secrets.

The narrative switches between different points of few. Abdi and his family’s story is told in the third person, but Clemo’s investigation is told in the first person, as is Noah’s story, both in the present and his past memories. This technique can sometimes cause confusion, but it’s well done in this book and helps build the suspense of what really happened between Abdi and Noah. It tells us things about Noah we wouldn’t otherwise know, but also gives us a look at Abdi’s life with his parents and sister who became one of my favorite characters in the book because of her loyalty and determination.

This is the second of Macmillan’s books to feature DI Jim Clemo. Enough references are made to the case featured in the first book to give new readers such as myself important facts about Clemo’s backstory. I enjoyed the book and think it was really well done. Odd Child Out is suspenseful and thoughtful without relying on gimmicks to create the suspense. The plot is complex and the characters are flawed, but real. Parts of the book move a little slow, but most is very well-done. The friendship between Noah and Abdi creates a connection between two families with completely different backgrounds who wouldn’t cross paths under other circumstances. The problems of immigrants to the UK, specifically those from Somalia, are key to the novel and are treated in a respectful, interesting way. I was able to figure out some of the details of the two boys’ story before they were revealed, but there are plenty of surprises at the end of the book, which has a touching if not happy ending. I recommend Odd Child Out to readers who like a suspenseful mystery with depth and characters that stand out and stay with you well after you’ve finished the book.

~ Christine

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