Scarecrow by Danny Weston

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Scarecrow by Danny Weston

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Z J Cookson
Reviewed by Z J Cookson
Summary: A gripping thriller that will have readers on the edge of their seats and more than a little uncomfortable. Five stars.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 288 Date: October 2017
Publisher: Andersen Press
ISBN: 978-1783445318

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When Jack's dad discovers illegal activity at work and blows the whistle, he makes some very powerful and dangerous enemies. He and Jack are forced to go into hiding in a remote cottage in the Scottish highlands. Miles from anywhere and anyone, they hope they will be alone and safe. But it quickly transpires that they are neither. Dad's enemies already know where they are heading and, even before they move in, Jack starts to have doubts whether they are actually alone. Did he really see the scarecrow next to their cottage move?

A story set in the Scottish highlands about a grumpy scarecrow called Philbert and his unlikely friendship with a teen from London. On the surface this sounds like a story for younger readers. In fact, it is a gripping thriller that will have readers on the edge of their seats and more than a little uncomfortable. With the skill of a clearly experienced and talented writer, Danny Weston hooks us into this story from the first page of Chapter One as Jack tries to find out why he has been dragged from his bed in the early hours of the morning and forced to leave his mobile phone at home in London. The author quickly moves on to slowly drip-feed us the explanation of events in a way that ensures that the reader is every bit as keen as Jack to find out what is going on.

We are then introduced to an entirely different storyline that keeps us guessing right up to the climax of the book. Jack thinks he's seen something impossible – for a moment he imagined he saw a scarecrow move. No, more than move. Jack is convinced he saw the scarecrow grab a bird and eat it alive, leaving only a smudge of blood and a couple of feathers. He tries to convince himself that it's simply because he hasn't taken his medicine for depression. However, the more he investigates the more real the scarecrow becomes: the scarecrow can talk, he has a name and a very distinctive personality.

As the drama unfolds – and dad's enemies arrive – we are still trying to figure out how much is real and how much is in Jack's mind. As I read on, I feared the ending was going to be left open for the reader to decide and I was, therefore, pleased to find we do get a definite answer to this ongoing question at the end of the book. (Sorry you will have to read the book to find out!)

I'm aware that it's unusual to devote so much of a review to the plot but this clever, and perhaps unique, premise deserves the attention. Besides all the other important elements – setting, characterisation, dialogue and pace – are spot on and there's little, if anything, to comment on.

If you enjoyed this, you might want to check out the children / teen books by author Philip Caveney. Why? Because it transpires that Danny Weston is, in fact, a pen name that Philip Caveney uses. But, more importantly, because The Bookbag loved the books he has written under his own name. Crow Boy, Night on Terror Island and Spy Another Day all received the maximum five stars.

Buy Scarecrow by Danny Weston at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Scarecrow by Danny Weston at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Scarecrow by Danny Weston at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Scarecrow by Danny Weston at Amazon.com.


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