O'Flynn's debut novel begins with deceptive lightness as a junior detective operates within her own preadolescent world of intrigue, but the author smoothly reconfigures numerous old disappearances into a solid mystery. The story uses place as effectively as character, with a megamall serving as the backdrop for searches past and present. Narrator Catherine Skinner (Beginner's Greek) moves easily through time and between genders, making this short mystery both haunting and realistic. Highly recommended for mystery audiences. [Discs indexed inaudibly at the start of each chapter and at regular intervals throughout; audio clip available through www.bbcaudiobooksamerica.com; the Henry Holt hc, released in June, was long-listed for the Booker Prize.--Ed.]--Joyce Kessel, Villa Maria Coll., Buffalo Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
Adult/High School-In 1984, Birmingham, England, is home to Kate Meaney, 10 years old, bright, self-possessed, and so obsessively engaged in the art of detection that she puts Louise Fitzhugh's Harriet to shame. Twenty years later, Kate is just a memory in a very few people's minds-and an obsession to a security guard at a Birmingham "shopping and leisure center." A peer but a stranger to Kate, he knows he saw her the day she disappeared, but, a child himself at the time, he hadn't reported his sighting. Now he sees her on the security cameras in the mall, and his new friend who works at the music store-and who has her own past with Kate-finds the little girl's toy monkey in the employees-only area of the complex. O'Flynn has created an ensemble cast of fully developed and engaging characters-children, adults, and adolescents-and placed them in a plot that twists and turns more than the underground and locked stretches of the mall. And she creates sentences and verbal images that are both finely honed and flawlessly flowing. This is a book with high appeal to mystery and suspense fans, and also to anyone who appreciates fine writing or mesmerizing storytelling.-Francisca Goldsmith, Halifax Public Libraries, Nova Scotia Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
Stirring and beautifully crafted, this debut novel recounts how the repercussions of a girl's disappearance can last for decades. In 1984, Kate Meaney is a 10-year-old loner who solves imaginary mysteries and guesses the dark secrets of the shoppers she observes at the Green Oaks mall. Kate's unlikely circle includes her always-present stuffed monkey; 22-year-old Adrian, who works at the candy shop next door; and Kate's classmate, Teresa Stanton, who hides her intelligence behind disruptive behavior. Kate's grandmother has plans for Kate: send her to boarding school. But Kate doesn't want to go. Fast forward to 2003, where it's revealed through Lisa, Adrian's sister, that Kate disappeared nearly 20 years ago, and Adrian, blamed in her disappearance, also vanished. Lisa works at a record store in Green Oaks and is drawn to Kurt, a security guard whose surveillance-camera sightings of a little girl clutching a stuffed monkey hint that he might have ties to Kate's disappearance. Teresa, meanwhile, now a detective, has her own reasons for being haunted by Kate's disappearance. Gripping to the end, the book is both a chilling mystery and a poignant examination of the effects of loss and loneliness. (July) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.