My pocket beeped. I hate it when that happens while I’m on a bus packed with people. When I reached for my mobile, I accidentally elbowed a guy in a business suit, who rolled his eyes and sighed.
I shrugged, bumping again, and checked to see who’d been texting me.
It was my mate Seb, of course. Seb can’t leave his mobile alone for more than two minutes. His message said:
harris U freek rU at wrk? cany ded bods yet?
I scowled. Ever since I told him I was doing my work experience at the Forensics Unit in the city, Seb had been carrying on like I was Hannibal Lector.
That showed how much he knew. I mean, forensic pathologists are the good guys, right?
Fifteen year-old Harris has been interested in forensic pathology for a long time and is very excited to be doing work experience at the city’s Forensics Unit. His supervisor has organised for him to spend time in all the different departments. But when the chief pathologist’s daughter, Tansy, goes missing, and he inadvertently sees a body in the morgue, Harris discovers that plans are not worth much. He is welcomed into the ‘family’ of people who work in this challenging area. Harris gets caught up in the mystery and publicity around the disappearance and a murder. There is speculation that someone in the unit may be involved. Harris develops and discards many theories on who could possibly be responsible before the culprit is ultimately revealed.
Teenagers often develop obsessions and the main character in Crime Seen is no different. But his obsession is a little less common. He’s obsessed with ‘helping the dead’, by working out just how they died. Unexpectedly, he also learns that he enjoys working with those left behind. He’s impatient with his movie-obsessed younger brother, keen to learn, keen to make a good impression, concerned about appearances and prone to jumping to conclusions. In short, he’s delightfully normal despite his less-common interests. Pausacker has planted plenty of clues and red herrings to keep the reader twisting and turning along with Harris as the story unfolds. Set in an Australian city, this crime novel for younger readers is well-paced and rewarding. Recommended for upper-primary and lower-secondary readers.
Crime Seen, by Jenny Pausacker
Lothian Children’s Books 2007
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