I picked up ODD CHILD OUT because I had read the author’s THE PERFECT GIRL and thought I enjoyed it for the most part. Looking over my review just now I see I rated it only 3/5 stars. I am glad I am just now realizing that because I enjoyed this book. ODD CHILD OUT was a unique story about a friendship between a dying boy and a Somali refugee. It was also a pretty interesting police procedural story.
Once again this author gives us plenty of POVs to keep the story balanced. We get POVs from; Noah (the dying child), Abdi (his best friend and a Somali refugee), Detective Inspector Jim Clemo (the DI on the case), Fiona and ED (Noah’s parents), and each of Abdi’s parents along with Abdi’s big sister.. Even with everyone’s voice, I still had no trouble following along with this story that is at its heart a story of childhood friendship. This story is told in terms of time passed since the incident and not broken up into personal narratives. It was easy to tell characters apart because each one had a distinct voice.
Noah is a 15 year old who has been battling cancer more than half his life. Abdi is a scholarship student going to the same private school as Noah. Ever since Noah could attend that school they have been inseparable. The story starts with Noah getting a terminal diagnosis and then flashed forward to where Noah is in a medically induced coma due to almost drowning and Abdi is catatonic. Abdi might be the only witness but he isn’t talking. Abdi is obviously terrified but no one knows of what. DI Clemo must try to get to the bottom of this mystery and try to piece together what happened that led to one boy floating in a river and the other too afraid to say what he saw.
The synopsis for this book (and even my little one paragraph blurb) can lead a reader to think they know what might have happened. The truth is there is much more than meets the eye when it comes to this book; the mystery of Abdi’s fear, Noah’s desperation for life, Emma’s desperation to post a shocking story, and DI Clemo’s determination to know what happened that night. This story contains so much more than just these two boys but even their story alone is one worth reading.
Abdi’s refugee status plays heavily into this mystery. The book takes place in the UK in Bristol where racial tensions are already high and there is a whole community of refugees from Somalia. DI Clemo’s ex Emma Zhang is desperate to expose the story of what happened to Noah since her goal is to become a crime reporter. Emma publishes an unscrupulous photo of the boy Noah and what she “thinks” might have happened making everyone afraid of their Somali neighbors. It is obvious that Emma and DI Clemo have history but nothing is really revealed in this book. Although it is easy to judge her, even Emma’s story contains more than meets the eye.
I really enjoyed this read. I found myself intrigued by every mystery that popped up and I was very satisfied by the ending. The only things that really didn’t seem to fit into this story, and definitely didn’t add anything, was the introduction of DI Clemo’s little sister, (whose name I can’t even remember). I am still wondering why we need that person in this story as she did nothing but distract from all the other things happening to these characters.
There is so much explored in this book and the author handles it with ease. Childhood cancer, racism, wealthy privilege, past secrets, and parentage are all explored in this book and it is an addictive read. I highly recommend this book to those who enjoy a good mystery/suspense with a bit of police procedural mixed in.
This is book 2 on the Jim Clemo series but it can definitely be read as a stand-alone. I haven’t read WHAT SHE KNEW but I had no trouble understanding who Jim was and whatever happened in book one hardly played into this story.
Jim Clemo series
Odd Child Out by Gilly Macmillan
Series: Jim Clemo #2
Published by William Morrow & Company on October 3rd 2017
Genres: Fiction, Psychological, Mystery & Detective, General, Women Sleuths
Also by this author: The Perfect Girl
eARC provided by William Morrow
From New York Times Bestselling Author of WHAT SHE KNEW
"A hugely satisfying and thrilling read. Highly recommended!" -Shari LaPena, New York Times bestselling author of The Couple Next Door
"Literary suspense at its finest.”—Mary Kubica, New York Times bestselling author of Pretty Baby
How well do you know the people you love…?
Best friends Noah Sadler and Abdi Mahad have always been inseparable. But when Noah is found floating unconscious in Bristol's Feeder Canal, Abdi can't--or won't--tell anyone what happened.
Just back from a mandatory leave following his last case, Detective Jim Clemo is now assigned to look into this unfortunate accident.
But tragedy strikes and what looked like the simple case of a prank gone wrong soon ignites into a public battle.
Noah is British.
Abdi is a Somali refugee.
And social tensions have been rising rapidly in Bristol.
Against this background of fear and fury two families fight for their sons and for the truth.
Neither of them know how far they will have to go, what demons they will have to face, what pain they will have to suffer.
Because the truth hurts.