Volume 21 Number 3
Although Jeni Mayer's first two novels, The Mystery of the Missing Will and The Mystery of the Turtle Lake Monster, were directed at eight- to twelve-year-olds, Suspicion Island will be enjoyed by the young adult audience.
Sixteen-year-old Daniel Bentley has just arrived at Suspicion Island off the British Columbia coast to spend some quality time with his newly remarried globe-trotting grandfather and Maria, his step-grandmother, a Salish woman. It is late at night as the boat arrives, but something is not right. "The wind was building to a crescendo. It whistled as it raced past the lattice-work and screamed through the eaves like a host of angry cats."
Instead of the expected warm greeting, Daniel finds the house in a shambles and his grandfather missing. Daniel is attacked by Solano, his grandfather's rebellious sixteen-year-old step-daughter, of whom Daniel is deeply suspicious, and who holds many dark secrets. After several encounters with Jeb, another mysterious island resident, the two teens set out at all costs to solve the matter of Daniel's grandfather and Solano's missing mother and to unlock the mysteries of the late-night activities in a nearby cove, not to mention the dead fish washing up on the beaches.
Mayer's most recent novel is yet another example of this prairie author's spell-binding story-telling abilities. Her descriptive writing is rich in images and cinematic movement. Mayer is constantly aware of mood, and she never forgets to remind her reader of the many unusual and unanswered questions.
When all is added up, her readers will definitely want to travel non-stop through to the novel's gripping conclusion.
Floyd Spracklin is English Department Head and a grade 9 teacher at G.C. Rowe Junior High School in Corner Brook, Newfoundland.
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