Book review: Odd Child Out by Gilly Macmillan

Tuesday, October 10, 2017 Permalink

This is the second book in the series featuring DI Jim Clemo. I didn’t read the first, What She Knew, published in 2015, although in all honesty must admit my memory is so crappy I’d probably remember minimal detail now anyway… but either way it made no difference.

I did however, read Gilly Macmillan’s 2016 book, The Perfect Girl, which I enjoyed. It centred around families and secrets and about good kids who sometimes make mistakes.

It was more of a twisty saga than a novel of suspense and her latest, Odd Child Out, is similar.

Book review: Odd Child Out by Gilly MacmillanOdd Child Out
by Gilly Macmillan
Series: Jim Clemo #2
Published by Piatkus
on October 10th 2017
Source: Hachette Australia
Genres: Psychological Thriller
ISBN: 9780349412948
Pages: 432

Abdi Mahal and Noah Sadler have been inseparable since they met. They've stuck together, even when their peers have excluded them. But when a horrifying incident leaves Noah in a coma and fighting for his life, Abdi is too traumatised to say anything about what happened.

DI Jim Clemo, freshly returned to work after an enforced leave of absence, is tasked to investigate. And against a backdrop of a city where racial tensions are running high, he must determine what really happened to drive two teenage boys into a situation so desperate.

You’d think this lover of suspense and books about serial killers would ‘need’ a whodunnit. An obvious crime. Someone to point the finger at. Nefarious deeds. And so forth.

However, it’s kinda obvious from the get-go that this isn’t that sort of book. Sure it’s a book about secrets and there’s a mystery – of sorts – to uncover. There’s a rather surprising ‘ah-ha!’ moment towards the end and an edge-of-your-seat climax.

But, it’s not about the good guys pursuing the bad guys. It’s about unpicking a series of events to work out what happened. It’s about knowing that there’s more to Noah’s accident, the boys’ night out, and Abdi’s silence than is obvious.

And there’s a sense of trepidation. It’s the sort of book in which we guess the ‘happily-ever-after’ isn’t an option. There will be heartbreak and sadness. There will be injustice. And there will be frustration because we know people act out of spite and anger and they have a tendency to believe the worst and to jump to conclusions. Rather than wait for the truth to reveal itself.

Perhaps it’s not possible to just get your head down and start a new life here in the way she and her family thought it was. Perhaps even if you do everything right, it can all go horribly wrong. p 87

Macmillan again offers up a strong plot and interesting characters. The story unfolds from three viewpoints: Abdi’s older sister Sofia (in third person) as well as that of Jim and Noah (in first person point of view). The latter is told from his unconscious state on his hospital bed so is pretty poignant, as you can imagine.

And there’s a blunt sadness, pragmatism or cynicism in Macmillan’s writing that is kinda dark but also kinda addictive.

The boy landed on a sack of flour and his blood soaked into the hessian. Nur saw that the boys eyes were open, but he wasn’t living behind them any longer, and he saw that the boy’s blood was so eager to flee his body that it even ran from the corners of his gaping mouth. p 250

Odd Child Out by Gilly Macmillan was published in Australia by Hachette and is available from today.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.

* As an aside… there was mention in this book of Super Recognizers (people with exceptional facial recognition memories and abilities) and I’d just read another book (by Stuart Kernick) that mentioned the same ‘elite’ group! #Bizarre



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