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Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2011-01-17
- Reviewer: Staff
Wynne-Jones (The Uninvited) delivers a dazzling crime novel that evokes the taut writing and tropes of hard-boiled fiction while interweaving social justice themes and a solid sense of realism. Blink has been living on the streets ever since running away from his abusive stepfather. While on a foray into a hotel to scavenge for leftover room service food, he witnesses an oil executive's faked kidnapping and ends up getting involved as he realizes the implications of the crime. Along the way, he meets Caution, on the run both from her abusive, drug-dealing boyfriend and her guilt over the accidental shooting death of her brother. The two teens are caught up in environmental and racial issues that are far beyond their ability to remedy, and Wynne-Jones—often using a surprisingly effective second-person voice—focuses on their attempts to escape immediate danger and repair their internal emotional damage. Blink and Caution's gradual need to trust each other to heal drives the story forward, and should provide ample thrills to lovers of crime novels and strong teen characters. Ages 14–up. (Mar.)
Teens team up for fast-paced adventure
Escaping an abusive stepfather has left Brent Conboy a homeless street kid. When he tries to swipe some breakfast leftovers off a hotel’s room service tray, he stumbles onto the scene of a crime in progress . . . only the truth is nothing like what’s being reported on the news.
Kitty Pettigrew ran from a terrible mistake made in her childhood and has been running, and making more dangerous mistakes, ever since. Stealing her violent drug-dealer boyfriend’s money and hitting the road is only the most recent.
When these two cross paths, sparks fly. Welcome to the nonstop action of Blink & Caution.
Author Tim Wynne-Jones has created two winning stories here, and combined them into an artful whole. When Kitty—aka Caution, as in “Contents under pressure”—first spots Brent, she easily robs him of a recent ill-gotten windfall. But a lingering sense of responsibility draws her back to him. And Blink (who has a nervous facial tic) tempers his resentment, since having someone so quick on her feet in his corner can only help him. If you smell a love story brewing, you’re not wrong, but it’s an unconventional one to say the least.
Blink & Caution begins in downtown Toronto, portrayed as unsparingly harsh; when the twosome follow up on the crime Blink saw, they’re led into the wilderness. Though they are in grave danger, the trees, water and air are a saving grace that seems to clear Blink’s head, enabling him to strategize instead of merely reacting to whatever happens around him. And Caution’s role as his “guardian angel” is a chance to put right the terrible thing she did years ago.
A fast-paced mystery with intelligence and heart, Blink & Caution snags readers and doesn’t let go.