________________ CM . . . . Volume XVII Number 25. . . .March 4th, 2011.


No Way Out.

Melanie Jackson.
Salmon Arm, BC: Midway Press/Playfort Publishing, 2010.
82 pp., pbk., $8.95.
ISBN 978-0-9813164-4-4.

Grades 8-10 / Ages 13-15.

Review by Myra Junyk.

**˝ /4



Mr. Rafferty and the custodian stared at me. My face burned. I slammed the wallet down on the nearest cashier counter.

The guard crammed the wallet into his back pocket. “Nice try, buddy.” “I was handing it in,” I objected. “And maybe, buddy, you should watch where you leave it.”

Before I realized what was happening, he’d yanked my own wallet out of my jeans back pocket. Flipping it open, he scanned my I.D. “Our thief is Sam Jellicoe. From Vancouver.”

The guard spat out the last word, as if Vancouver was some kind of cesspool. I wanted to punch the sneer off his face. But that would get me into genuine trouble. Right now this was all a stupid misunderstanding.

How boring! Fifteen-year-old Sam Jellicoe has to spend the entire summer with his mom and stepfather in Winnipeg. When Sam tries to escape the prairie heat and his own boredom, he decides to spend some time in Rafferty’s Department Store. As he enters, he finds a wallet on the floor. Suddenly, the lights go off. Sam tries to return the wallet just as all the customers are asked to leave the store, but he is accused of theft by a security guard who is also the owner’s son. Locked in the main office waiting for the police to show up, Sam is shocked to hear that the store has been taken over by a thief who kills the custodian. The murderer then threatens the owner, his security guard son, and a salesgirl. They are the only ones in the store - except for Sam!

    Sam uses his ingenuity to escape the murderous thief and overpower him. He is helped by the salesgirl who is determined to survive as well. As the two work together, they confront several questions: Where are the safest escape routes? How did the thief know so much about the store? Could there be an insider helping him?

     Known for her “Dinah Galloway” mystery series, Melanie Jackson introduces a new teenage hero, Sam Jellicoe, who is bright and resourceful. He is also honest. He decides to give back the wallet thinking that he could possibly get a reward for his efforts which he will then give to the improve group in his high school in Vancouver. When faced with a dangerous situation, he shows readers that he is also courageous and intuitive. He finds a path through the department store via the ceiling tiles. He also concludes that the actions of Rafferty’s son are very suspicious. This mystery is action-packed and fast moving. However, the eventual solution to the mystery is a bit far-fetched! The accessible vocabulary and short chapters will make No Way Out a good choice for any readers interested in mystery.


Myra Junyk, who lives in Toronto, ON, is a literacy advocate and author.

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

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