Tag Archives: Melbourne

Red

Libby Gleeson

Hodder

9781444917307

February 2014

paperback

Finished

A taut and gripping thriller from the award-winning Australian author, Libby Gleeson. [The book was first published in Australia in 2012, where it won the 2013 Australian Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Children’s Fiction.]
It opens in the aftermath of a cyclonic storm that has wreaked havoc on Sydney. A young girl comes back to consciousness smothered in mud.

Mud. In her mouth, her nose and eyes. Mud in her hair and caked on her neck and her arms. Mud filling her shoes and seeping through her clothes.

She can remember little from her past. A boy called Peri befriends her and piece by piece helps her regain some recollection of her past. Things start to become clearer when she sees a photo in the ruins of her old primary school.
She was mumbling “jaymartinjaymartin” as she regained consciousness and this mantra gains in significance as the story unfolds and Red has to attempt to deliver a memory stick storing highly sensitive information about organised crime to the Supreme Court in Melbourne.
I have to say it’s a pleasure to read a novel told in what, until recently (with the prevalent use in YA novels of the continuous present voice), has been the conventional 3rd person past.
This isn’t a novel that is going to change your life. But it will entertain and thrill you. Not a word has been wasted in the telling.
In short, highly recommended.