Published: 1st September 2013 by Allen & Unwin
Format: Paperback, 335 pages
Genres: Crime, Thriller/Mystery
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Rachel Watts is an unwilling new arrival to Melbourne from the country. James Mycroft is her neighbour, an intriguingly troubled seventeen-year-old genius with a passion for forensics. Despite her misgivings, Rachel finds herself unable to resist Mycroft when he wants her help investigating a murder. And when Watts and Mycroft follow a trail to the cold-blooded killer, they find themselves in the lion's den - literally.
A night at the zoo will never have quite the same meaning again ...
This book is so good! I was absolutely hooked from the prologue (it’s a punchy prologue!), and it only got better from there! I enjoyed the characters, the mystery, and the vivid sense of place, and am looking forward to the next two books in the series.
Set in Melbourne, Every Breath is about Rachel Watts, who’s new to the whole city-living thing (her family used to own a farm), and her neighbour James Mycroft, who’s got a penchant for forensics and crime-solving. The city is brought to life by the author – I liked the emphasis on the small, usually overlooked aspects of the Melbourne, like little eateries, wonderful people, unexpected kindnesses. I think it’s nice because we see the city through Rachel’s eyes, and she’s anti-Melbourne and the big smoke for so long that when she starts seeing how special it is, I could totally see it too.
The murder-mystery aspect of the book had me worried initially, because I thought that teenagers solving a crime alongside the police wouldn’t be believable. Why would adults give them pertinent details and allow them to spin their theories? But Marney handles it well, and I understood why the coroner and police officer wanted to listen. I was sucked into the action: there’s a lot going on and I was always guessing what might happen next. One of the things that did disappoint me is how patronisingly Mycroft would wait for Watts to reach some conclusion or another – I feel like it took away from her own considerable agency and left us hanging on Mycroft’s. In fact, whatever contributions Watts does make towards solving the case, she’s never happy with. She’s always in awe of how much Mycroft achieves and even blames herself for wallowing at one stage because she didn’t do as much as him.
Watts and Mycroft have an easy, simple friendship . Even then they hurt one another, it’s only because they know each other so well. I think this aspect of life is frequently forgotten about in YA – author trip over themselves creating sexual tension between two protagonists and forget that the basis of any real, lasting relationship is friendship. So for me, it’s a massive plus that Watts and Mycroft were firmly established as best friends long before they explored any other relationship, but having said that, I love the sweet cute (and heart achy) build up in their romance.
The fact that Rachel and James refer to one another by last-name threw me for most of the book: although it was easy enough to remember Watts’ name is Rachel, because her family call her that, I constantly forgot that Mycroft was the boy’s last-name! Although it did serve as a good indicator of how close they were getting – when they started saying first-names you knew things were about to get interesting!
Every Breath is an engaging crime thriller that most will enjoy, especially because of its rich setting, exciting plot and great characters. I’m glad there are more books to come about Mycroft and Watts, because I’m not ready to let them go yet! I’ll be eagerly looking forward to the sequels!
Blogging Outside the Box is a feature at Speculating on SpecFic, where books outside the SFF banner are reviewed. It is intended to highlight some of the non speculative fiction titles I am reading and share my thoughts with readers.