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Blackbird by N. D. Gomes


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"Olivia disappeared the night the blackbird died. It was New Years Eve the night that dead blackbirds descended, hours before 14 year old Alex McCarthy's sister Olivia went missing from a party.

"Committed to finding out what happened to her sister, within the previously safe walls of their subarctic Orkney village, Alex knows that dishevelled, sometimes intoxicated Detective Inspector Birkens is her best shot. Yet as they uncover the secrets behind Olivia's last night, Alex starts to find things she may be better off never knowing."

Blackbird is a pure YA thriller; there is little in the way of romance, which is a nice change from a lot of YA books, where it feels like there just has to be a love interest.

I loved the mystery and raced through the book, desperately trying to work out whodunit. As an Agatha Christie fanatic, I’ve seen a fair few tricks, but Gomes managed to fool me. The twists are razor-sharp and don’t seem rushed, unlike in some YA mysteries.

It is full of atmospheric and slightly lyrical writing, which I love. I found the narration surprisingly poignant.

Blackbird was everything I’d hoped it would be: tense, well-plotted and addictive. I would also recommend N. D. Gomes' debut novel, Dear Charlie, which deftly handles tough subjects.