'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Thursday 28 May 2020

Review: The Tell

Raze is an ordinary fourteen-year-old boy. 

Ordinary except that his father is one of Sydney’s major crime bosses and he is expected to follow in his dad’s footsteps and become a member of the mafia. 

Raze, however, has no intention of picking crime as a career option. And given that run-ins with murderous rival crime syndicates are an occupational hazard, the reader is placed firmly on Raze’s side.

The story opens with Raze and his two friends spray painting art on the side of a building and having to make a sudden run for it. 

At this stage, the author perhaps tries too hard with Raze’s voice as a streetwise teen, which left me cold. And when it is later revealed that Raze attends a prestigious private school, it confirmed my impression that his voice needed more work. But as the story progressed, the language toned-down a little, which let me slide into the story more easily. 

And I’m glad that I did, as Chatterton built the tension expertly. After Raze’s dad breaks out of prison, Raze himself gets dragged into custody and is questioned by some thug-like cops who could do with a personality transplant. Raze and his family are then targeted by rival gangs, and the story builds from there. Luckily for Raze, he has two good friends he can count on to help him slip a series of increasingly nasty characters and gather more clues to stay ahead of the growing list of people who want him dead.

Add arson, shootings, bent cops, explosions and a budding romance into the mix, and you have a compelling storyline that escalates into increasingly more harrowing situations to keep the pages turning. My only niggle concerned the fourteen-year-old Raze driving around the city, as I expected this to add to his list of headaches-by-cops, but the author was kind to Raze and let him get away with it.
Overall, I could see fans of Young Adult thrillers devouring this. Fast and fun, with an ingenious resolution and some character growth to boot, I recommend it.

Title: The Tell
Author: Martin Chatterton 
Publisher: Puffin, $16.99
Publication Date: 28 April 2020 
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781760895945
For ages: 12+
Type: Young Adult Fiction