________________ CM . . . . Volume XIII Number 12 . . . . February 2, 2007

cover Seeing and Believing. (A Mike and Riel Mystery).  

Norah McClintock.
Toronto, ON: Scholastic Canada, 2006.
229 pp., pbk., $7.99.
ISBN 0-439-94608-5.
Grades 7-12 / Ages 12-17.

Subject Headings:
Murder-Juvenile fiction.
Friendships-Juvenile fiction.
Detective and mystery stories.
Review by Thom Knutson.
*** /4 


Vin stepped out of the shadows. He nodded and moved closer to the path that cut through the park. When he stepped into a puddle of light under a lamppost, I saw how terrible he looked, like he hadn’t slept in a long time. He had probably been awake since it had happened, and that was nearly twenty-four hours ago now. His face was dirty, too. I wondered where he’d been all day. We started down the path toward the road.
We were on Riel’s street, almost at his house, when a cop car slid past us. Vin froze, which was the wrong thing to do. If one of those cops checked his rearview or sideview mirror and saw Vin tense up like that, he’d be suspicious. He’d be doubly suspicious if he had Vin’s description.
The cop car slowed. I glanced at Vin. His eyes were focused on the cop car, and it looked to me like he was getting ready to run. I grabbed his arm. The cop car had reversed and was backing toward us. Vin tried to pull away, but I held him, afraid of what could happen if he bolted. Two cops jumped out of the car, one on each side. They had their guns out and they were pointing them at us.
"Put your hands above your head," one of them said. My hands shot up. Vin shrunk into a crouch, like he was going into a starter’s pose. "Vincent Taglia?" the cop said. Vin nodded, but just barely. I saw Riel out of the corner of my eye. He came out of the house and jogged over to the cops, but stood back and didn’t say anything right away.
"Vincent Taglia, you’re under arrest," the cop said.  

Mike McGill is back in the fourth installment of Norah McClintock’s successful “Mike and Riel Mystery” series, and once again readers will not be disappointed. In Seeing and Believing, Mike’s loyalty to his friends, Vin and Sal, is put to the test when Vin is arrested for a robbery and shooting at a local convenience store. Given their long friendship, Mike wants to believe that Vin is innocent, despite the fact that Sal saw Vin running from the store that night. With one store owner dead and the other in critical condition, Vin’s only alibi is a girl who was at the back of the store at the time of the shooting. With the help and persistence of Mike’s girlfriend, Rebecca, and his guardian cop-turned-schoolteacher, John Riel, Mike searches for the mysterious girl with the spider tattoo and the truth that will exonerate Vin and restore Mike’s faith in his best friend.

     Right from the start, when the police show up to question Mike about Vin, McClintock creates a sense of urgency and suspense that drives the well-crafted plot increasingly faster towards its satisfying conclusion. McClintock handles her characters’ development with care, giving the reader a feel both for their strengths and vulnerabilities. Teens will especially relate to Mike through his first person perspective. Adults are mostly secondary figures who provide just enough influence on the teens to allow them the space to make their own mistakes and find their own way. The multi-ethnic community and the distinctly urban setting provide the storyline a solid and believable footing. The mass market format and shadowy cover illustrations are an added bonus to an already winning combination of action and mood. Seeing and Believing is sure to be a hit especially with boys looking to sleuth their way through a good adventure. The series should be front and centre in any teen collection.
Thom Knutson is Saskatoon Public Library’s Youth Services Coordinator.  

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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