Sunday, August 25, 2013

BOOK REVIEW - EVERY BREATH by ELLIE MARNEY - YA CRIME THRILLER - ALLEN & UNWIN

By: Ellie Marney
Published By: Allen & Unwin
Released : Available Now
Details : Paperback from Publisher for review, 335 Pages

Rating: 4 MARVELOUSLY QUIRKY MYCROFT & WATTS STARS 

Blurb: Goodreads

Rachel Watts is an unwilling new arrival to Melbourne from the country. James Mycroft is her neighbour, an intriguingly troubled seventeen-year-old genius with a passion for forensics. Despite her misgivings, Rachel finds herself unable to resist Mycroft when he wants her help investigating a murder. And when Watts and Mycroft follow a trail to the cold-blooded killer, they find themselves in the lion's den - literally.

A night at the zoo will never have quite the same meaning again..


BOOK REVIEW by Michelle:

I liked this story. I loved Mycroft and Watts. I uber loved Mycroft.

He is Sherlock’s Robert Downey Jr meets Elementary’s Sherlock aka Jonny Lee Miller in a seventeen year old body. And, you know without the Matrix style combat that Robert has down pat.

I LOVE Mycroft. Just had to say it again.

He is quite an addictive character. He is a different YA male lead that we can crush on.

He is quirky, eccentric, a wild card, spontaneous, a contradiction sometimes, observant, sometimes manic, passionate, seventeen, kind hearted, lonely, curious, angry and a genius. You want to see what he does next.

He is a rule breaker. He sees the inside of a jail cell.

He is interesting.

Rachel Watts is intelligent, more the go getter, action gal, curious, spontaneous, seventeen, observant, angry, dependable. 

Yes, they have similarities but they also don’t. They complement each other. One balances out the others manic. They can calm each other when need be.

Mycroft can convince Watts to do almost anything, yet she can be in charge too, doing the convincing. 


You can forget they are only seventeen.

There is like a gender reversal in their roles to an extent. Mycroft will become the saviour when he is pushed to come through for Watts but she is more the one to do the climbing and jumping.


She is verbs to his nouns.

They are a genuine team.

Mycroft can rattle off all this genius stuff, he knows shiz. He has a website. He wants to discuss and talk, get answers, debate, solve...do stuff with his in-room lab... which he smashed.

Mycroft grins, 'So, you've only been in the city four months and you're already the babysitter for the school's eccentric genius.'
'It's been four and a half months. And if you were such a genius, you wouldn't have a black eye.'
'I'm only a genius with facts. I'm an academic genius and a social moron.'
'At least you admit to being a moron at something.'
'I admit to being a moron at lots of things. Being a moron in one or two areas serves to highlight my extraordinary brilliance in everything else.'

Now I am going to be honest, as this is Ellie’s debut book, and explain why I am not giving this a five star. I really do love the characters, even the sub characters Mai and Gus, Gray Jetta and Mike.

I thought, and this is my one opinion, that the actual believability of a part of the plot was a little wobbly for me. Seventeen year olds getting the information they got from Professor Walsh and just the whole bit where they didn’t really give Detective Pickup the chance to investigate, they thought they knew better and assumed that the professionals were not smart enough to solve the crime or cared to. I know that is the whole premise of this story, Ellie’s characters are crime solvers. But I wanted it to be stronger and more believable that part of the story line.

What I am trying to say is, what teenagers really could take on a crime solving mission and get as far as they got with getting information from adult professionals, getting a look at the body in the morgue etc. You really don’t just ask and get a yes in the real world. But then that is the magic of these two I suppose. Doing what others can’t. 

AND this is a Sherlock style read. I just thought maybe it wasn’t for me personally, the strongest part of the book. 

I liked where Ellie had them doing their own investigating with things they could do without being involved with the Police/Pathologist/Professionals side of it. That felt more real. I could see them working it out and talking to who they needed to talk to, to get information. More puzzle pieces collected to put towards the bigger picture.

Putting that aside, because that may be me being uber picky, I really like where Ellie is going.

Mycroft has a lot of layers to him, he is driven by his own personal demons to seek justice.

There is a scene in Every Breath which shows us Mycroft's inner pain. It kinda hurt my heart watching him in his stupor. Well, actually a couple of scenes.

He looked pitiful.
I sank on my knees on the booze-sodden carpet, as though I was trying to make myself seem less intimidating to an injured animal. 'Mycroft, take it easy.'
'No, you jes'...'
'Hey.' My hands were up, palms out. 'It's okay.'


One of my fave parts of the book was being introduced to Mycroft's room and essentially Mycroft too. We get a lot of his personality from this scene.

Mycroft's door has a hand-lettered sign, The Stranger's Room, taped to it along with a bunch of other crap: a poster for The Chemical Brothers, a sign saying WARNING: Safety Glasses Must Be Worn at All Times, and a yellow plaque with the universal black skull-and-crossbones danger symbol. I can hear the unmistakeable thump of The Knack oozing from behind the wood veneer.
I rap twice. 'Oi! It's me!'
The door is flung wide. The music is suddenly much louder. A fug of cigarette smoke escapes from the room, taking off for the stratosphere by way of the hall ceiling.
Mycroft stands there with a fag dangling from his lips, nodding along to 'My Sharona' like one of those floppy-headed dogs that sit on the dashboard. He's wearing a burgundy velveteen robe, loosely belted over cotton boxer shorts. His cuts and bruises stand out, and his hair looks particularly frightful.
'About bloody time.' The cigarette wobbles, spills ash onto the carpet. 'I'm starving.'
He puts his hands on his hips and his robe gapes.
'For god's sake, Mycroft, get your gear on. That's more than I really need to see.

The minute I saw the name My Sharona, I heard the song coming out of the book. That very, The Knack's beat, for this song. It just gave this whole 3D feel to being in Mycroft's room with him all burgundy..ed up and nodding to the beat. What can I say, it is my vintage.

Ellie has thrown in some serious issues along the way that show us Mycroft in a different light. A lad that is carrying a lot of pain about with him.

'Thanks, Watts. For getting me squared away.'

What I will say is Ellie gave me such a distraction with Mycroft and Watts.

They are a wonderful escapism to read. 

'I can already see you in ripped fishnets, knee pads and a crash helmet,'Mycroft says in a thoughtful voice. 'Your name would be ... Whacker Watts!'


really do love them. They have only known each other four months but they gel. I couldn't really imagine these two apart from each other. I see them with little genius kids who are bopping to My Sharona. We can see that Mycroft wouldn't do well without Watts in his life.

'How can someone so smart be such an utter moron? What on earth were you thinking?'
'I WASN'T BLOODY THINKING, okay?'

What I liked was Ellie made the two families, real Aussie battlers. Watt’s family has fallen on hard times and everybody is doing the best they can to get through the day. Nobody is enjoying the job they have, but they are doing what they have to do to pay the bills, put food on the table.

Mycroft’s situation is a little different, a little sadder.

A little lonelier.

His personality, I really absorbed. He has many sides to him. He can be a bit of a hermit when he chooses to be, being anti social to Watt’s family who feeds him, yet he is a bit of a lad about town with all the people he knows that can get him from A to B and a free Baklava . He knows how to work being penniless to his advantage.

'Is there a tram driver in this city you aren't on a first-name basis with?' I ask as I flump down. I'm still stinging from the 'country girl' thing. 'I mean, there's Sharman on the school run, and Glenda on Saturdays. We had Cheryl last week -'
'Nick only does alternating months.' Mycroft checks the thermos and tries to shove it further into his backpack but it won't go. 'The racing keeps him busy.'
'You didn't answer my question.'
He blinks at me. 'Well, Watts, I'll let you in on a secret: people, if you talk to them, often talk back. Staggering concept, I know. And not freqently applied to in the city, but I'm an old-fashioned guy. Chatting's not a crime, is it?'

Yet at the same time, he brings on negativity from his peers by breaking rules, spontaneously, deliberately. He has bigger things on his mind than to worry about little rules. They just get in his way.

I really liked the ending. I was on the edge of my chair, so to speak. I felt very , very tense. I liked the villain. You can’t pick the motive and the weapon. That was a cool twist. A clever well thought out villain. 

The blurb for Every Word # 2 in the series is already telling me something from what I read in Every Breath.

Ellie drops seeds in this book for Every Word # 2. Look for them, you will find them.

I am intrigued to know more. I am interested to see how penniless Mycroft makes it to London. Again were there seeds dropped in this installment? Well there may have been. All I know is Mycroft and Watts may be doing it hard now financially but with their brains, they will go on to much better things eventually, financially. You can’t be this intelligent and stay an Aussie battler.

Oh and he sounds like a gorgeous kisser, too.

'Bossy, aren't you?' He's grinning as he heads for the door. 'Stay over one night, and it's all do this, do that, get me tea - '

Michelle



9 comments:

  1. Love that Rachel is the verbs to Mycroft's nouns. Loved this relationship - and I have yet to see Elementary so this duo was original enough for me to love even as two teenagers of different backgrounds dealing with different pains.

    Great review Mich.

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    2. Hey Braiden, thanks! I must admit I rather liked my nouns and verbs thingy too. I have my Q & A with Ellie tomorrow on the blog and she actually reveals some interesting things about her characters :D

      Mich

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  2. Yay, glad you loved this, too! I adored Rach and Mycroft, such a great couple and crime-solving duo!

    I'm with you, bring on book 2!

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    1. I am rather excited for # 2 and # 3! Mycroft is such a great character, I can't wait to see what spontaneous things he gets up to. I love a character that can just at a seconds notice do something way out and it suits them :D

      Mich

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  3. Interesting review! I love the way these two just click too, and while this isn't normally my cup of tea in genres (ya, yes, crime, NO!), I see a lot of the Elementary style drama coming across. At the same time seeing Benedict Cumberbatch's face on Mycroft lol!
    I was glad of your honesty about the believeability. That was my struggle, a little, and I was transported back to Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys days. Eeek!!
    Every couple of pages, some extremely Aussie slang or expression pops up in the dialogue and each time I think "the international audience is going to need a glossary!", what did you think? Do modern Aussie teens actually talk that way?
    :-)

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    1. Hi Liz, I don't read Crime novels , at all , I don't think? I must ponder on that, but I think the characters really make this work for me.

      Well, I am not a teen, *cough* by a rather long stretch, lol! So , I actually loved the vintage that was brought into this story line with My Sharona. It gave Mycroft that nice edge to his character. I am a fan of The Knack and I am still hearing that song playing. I wasn't overwhelmed at all by the slang as Mycroft has more of a British thing going on. When he chooses to bring it out more. The more I am reading Aussie characters in US books , I think US loves using them. They have fun with them. I just finished a book where Lora Leigh used an Aussie lead for a whole book. I think sometimes overseas readers enjoy that slang we use. It can be endearing. ??? I'm not sure. I think I sound like a forest dweller, lol!

      Glad you enjoyed this book too !

      :D

      Mich

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  4. Ok I'm sold, I would read this given the chance. Sherlock meets matrix? Sign me up!
    And obviously your teen self is fantasizing about how he kisses... I'm worried LOL
    Braine

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    1. Hey Miss B...lol! No not Matrix, I was saying without the Matrix moves :D Mycroft isn't an action type guy unless pushed, then he comes through :D

      Hehe! Teen self likes Mycroft!!

      x

      Mich

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