In the warmth of the late afternoon, in the dark green water that smelled strongly of salt and sea-life, David was swimming. He gave himself up to the hypnotic rhythm: a breath on one side, his ears filled with children shrieking, sudden splashes, urgent cries of birds; then turning his face into the water, where all he could hear was a rhythmic pounding like the sound of his own blood coursing through his body. Again and again, until he realised he’d covered several laps without being aware of it.
He wondered if you could doze off while swimming and swim on in your sleep.
David and his friends Kitty, Andrea and Martin have enjoyed a carefree summer but that’s coming to an end. School brings familiarity for some and changes for others and then there’s the new boy Skender. The hint that something is wrong begins when Andrea surprises some men in the lane behind David’s house. Then a couple of days later, David vanishes. Coincidence or is something more sinister going on? The friends can find no obvious answers and as time passes, their worries escalate. When there is still no clue of David’s whereabouts some time later, they decide to do their own investigating.
Crooked Leg Road is a thrilling mystery from the author of ‘The Tunnels of Tarcoola’ and features the same ensemble cast. Not that it is necessary to have read ‘The Tunnels of Tarcoola’ to enjoy this new novel. The action is set in a suburb by the sea in Sydney but could equally have been set in any seaside town. These are independent, clear-thinking young people navigating their way through school and after-school situations with a believable mix of confidence and reticence. A variety of cultures and family dynamics reflect modern Australian suburbia. There are themes of family, safety and culture wrapped up here in a page-turning mystery. Recommended for upper-primary readers.
Crooked Leg Road by Jennifer Walsh Allen & Unwin 2014 ISBN: 9781743316931