Review: Running Girl by Simon Mason

Posted February 17, 2014 by chooseyabooks in reviews / 0 Comments

I received this book for free from Random House Children's Books in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Title: Running Girl
Author: Simon Mason
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: 2nd January 2014
Pages: 437
Format: Hardcover
Source: Random House Children's Books
four-stars

Meet Garvie Smith: Charming, brilliant and completely bone idle. If anything can get his attention, it might just be a murder. What sort of girl was gorgeous Chloe Dow? Not the sort to disappear without a trace. What sort of policeman is workaholic Detective Inspector Raminder Singh? Not the sort to rush his first murder investigation. What sort of boy is Garvie Smith? Don't ask. At least, don't ask his mother. When Chloe's body is pulled from Pike Pond, the hunt is on for her killer and DI Singh has a chance to prove his worth. He doesn't need any 'assistance' from notorious slacker Garvie Smith, the boy with the highest IQ ever recorded at Marsh Academy, and the lowest ever grades. Or does he? A brand-new teen crime novel from one of today's great storytellers.

runninggirlTitle: Running Girl
Author: Simon Mason
Publisher: David Fickling Books
Publication Date: 2nd January 2014
Series/Standalone: Standalone (as far as I’m aware)
Format: Hardback
Source: Copy from publisher for review
Also by this author: First YA novel, has also published 3 novels for adults and the Quigleys series and Moon Pie for younger readers.

Goodreads Description: Meet Garvie Smith. Highest IQ ever recorded at Marsh Academy. Lowest ever grades. What’s the point, anyway? Life sucks. Nothing ever happens.
Until Chloe Dow’s body is pulled from a pond.
DI Singh is already on the case. Ambitious, uptight, methodical – he’s determined to solve the mystery and get promoted. He doesn’t need any ‘assistance’ from notorious slacker, Smith.
Or does he?

Review: 

Garvie Smith is one of the smartest people in his year but has some of the lowest grades. His mother is at breaking point and there’s a vague threat of moving to Barbados lurking if he doesn’t pull himself together for his GCSEs. However when classmate Chloe Dow’s body is pulled out of a pond, Garvie knows he can help solve the case. The problem is, DI Singh the lead investigator doesn’t seem to want his assistance.

This book was described to me as a YA Sherlock and I definitely think there are elements of this in the book. Garvie is just as anti-social, at times rude and able to solve puzzles as quickly as Sherlock might but at the same time Garvie is still his own character. However, just like Sherlock his qualities also make him very difficult to relate to and empathise with at points during the novel, which I struggled with occasionally.

I really liked the addition of DI Singh as it’s rare to have so much space for a ‘grown-up’ character in a YA novel. I liked the way Singh’s relationship with Garvie developed in the novel to some grudging respect. Also Singh’s voice in Running Girl reminded the reader just how high the stakes were and the danger Garvie was putting himself in.

Mason uses interview excerpts within Running Girl and I think that really worked and added to the crime film noir vibe of the novel and felt realistic. I thought it was interesting that some of these were within the traditional police station setting and some were Garvie doing his own investigation.  The contrast between the two was really interesting and the fact that Garvie was conducting these ‘interviews’ said a lot about his character and how he viewed the investigation.

The crime plot was full of twists and turns and kept me guessing. Usually I have made a fairly accurate guess about who the murderer is quite early in the book, but this one kept me changing my mind and even getting it wrong! I thought the final fifth of the book was filled with twists, unseen developments and very hard to put down.

Although the difficulty in relating to Garvie sometimes affected my enjoyment of Running Girl, overall this was a highly readable and compelling read with some great twists and turns and an engaging mystery. Fans of crime, YA and Sherlock should definitely enjoy Running Girl and its many surprises.

 I received a free copy from Random House Children’s Publishers  for reviewing purposes. My review is honest and its tone and content unaffected by the means in which I received the book.

four-stars

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