Series: Jim Clemo #2
Published by William Morrow on October 3, 2017
Source: the publisher
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How well do you know the people you love…?
Best friends Noah Sandler 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.
I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Odd Child Out is the second book in the DI Jim Clemo Series, following What She Knew. I think it would be fine to read it as a standalone, although I read it immediately following the previous book and I feel like I was better able to appreciate several references made to the previous case as well as the reason for the rather contentious relationship between the leading detective, Jim, and another prominent character in this story.
Odd Child Out features best friends Noah and Abdi, and the investigation surrounding an event that happens between the two boys at the beginning of the book, which results in one boy being hospitalized with serious injuries and leaves the other boy in shock and unable to speak. The investigation into this event is complicated by the fact that Abdi is a Somali immigrant, and this story takes place during a time when the political climate in Bristol is strained, particularly where the issue of immigration is concerned.
Despite the issues with immigration in their community and the differences in their cultures, Noah and Abdi have been best friends since they met years ago, and by all appearances they have always been very close. As DI Jim Clemo digs into the case, he uncovers evidence that their friendship may possibly be a little bit more complex and strained than everyone realizes.
I grew to love DI Jim Clemo in the first book, partly because he has some flaws that blur the lines between his private life and his work life. Jim has just returned back to work after mandatory therapy and a mandatory break due to severe insomnia and anxiety. He is eager to take on a new case, any case – as luck would have it, his first case back is another high-profile case involving children. He is under intense scrutiny from his boss after a few problems with his last case, which was also high-profile, and the added pressure made me worry for him a little bit. Jim still makes a few decisions that cause me to shake my head while I read, but I always feel like his intentions are good and that his priority is solving the case and ensuring a positive outcome for everyone involved.
Unlike the previous book, this installment has only one perspective. I like this different story structure, with Jim telling the entire story. I like seeing the author being versatile in this way. Of note, there also aren’t any extras like blog posts, news articles, or therapy notes added into the narrative. This is pure narrative prose, and I feel like it worked well with this story.
The cast is a bit larger than it was with the first book and for the most part, I like most of the characters. I felt connected to them and was pulling for everyone to be safe and for a quick resolution to the investigation. I was shocked when the author took the plot in a few directions with each of the boys, but being surprised like that made the story more compelling and gave it an air of increased intensity for me.
There were two female characters that I developed some intense feelings of dislike toward – one that was fairly major and one that was slightly less major – and it surprised me how negatively I felt about them and their actions as the story progressed. I don’t really want to say who they are because I think it would be a little bit spoilery. I’m fairly certain that as this series continues, we will see one of these characters again and that just fuels my anger at her. I love it when books make me feels things like this, even if it is an intensely negative feeling.
I love What She Knew but I think I may like Odd Child Out even more. The pacing is perfect and I never wanted to stop turning the pages. I feel like this story is complicated by so many little things but at the same time, it seems fairly simple and straightforward. There are best friends from different social classes, and there is racism. There is a child with poor health and parents that deal with their child’s terminal diagnosis differently. There is the major issue of immigration. It is really very, very good.
I feel like after spending the last few days reading two of this author’s books back-to-back, and loving them as much as I have, I’ll definitely be seeking out her titles in the future. I have one more of her books on my shelf: The Perfect Girl. I want to read that one as soon as possible. Then I’ll be caught up with Gilly MacMillan’s releases and pining away for her next release.