Book Review: Odd Child Out

ODD CHILD OUT | Gilly Macmillian
10.03.2017 | William Morrow
Rating: 4/5 stars


Noah Sadler and Abdi Mahad are best friends who have become inseparable. One night Noah is found floating unconscious in Bristol’s Feeder Canal with Abdi sitting, unable to speak, on the embankment. Detective Jim Clemo who just returned from a mandatory leave following his last case is assigned to look in to what happened the night at the Canal. At first it looks like a simple quarrel between friends that went wrong, but when the details unravel two families become pitted against one another.

In retrospect, I misinformed Woodley, because neither of us recognized this case for what it really was: menacing, strong, and smooth, perhaps not making waves at first, but able to turn on a dime and surprise you with a razor-toothed bite. This case was actually a shark.

Abdi is the son of Somali refugees attending a private school on scholarship. Noah is a member of a well-off British family. Racial tensions are high in Bristol at the time of the accident and soon assumptions are made that the incident was a result of these tensions. Before long it also comes to the forefront that Noah has a terminal illness and just received notification that he has months to live. What really brought these two friends to brink of breaking?

Mum knew that Abdi was trustworthy, because I told her he was, loads of times, even though ironically, I wasn’t being a hundred percent honest about that, because who is?

ODD CHILD OUT takes the reader into the lives of the Sadler and Mahad families and the secrets each holds dearly. No family is perfect and these two families prove this fact as the details of their personal live are revealed. Macmillian alternates chapters between Noah, DI Clemo, and a main narrator who gives the reader looks into the Sadler and Mahad families. At first I was a bit confused by the alternating narratives because unlike other novels that follow this format, the chapters where not labeled by narrator. In addition to alternating narratives, the book is broken down into the days following the incident. I greatly enjoyed knowing the timeline of events as I read through the book. I think sometimes in crime fiction the timeline can become blurred between the various actions characters are taking, but by breaking the book into parts based on days it’s very easy to distinguish how fast or slowly events are happening.

Noah’s Bucket List No. 8: Experience a rite of passage. (In my head this one could also have been wordeed “Have a beer with a mate,” but I didn’t tell Dad that, because he suggested I could have a beer with him. It was a nice idea, but really, who the heck goes through a rite of passage with their dad?)

This was my first book by Macmillian and when I requested this copy I did not realize it was the second book in a series. There are some references to DI Clemo’s previous case from book one, but not knowing the details of the first book did not detract from understanding this book. I would highly recommend this novel to anyone looking for a great detective story with family values at the core.

Thank you to William Morrow, Gilly Macmillian, and LibraryThings for providing me an advanced readers copy of this book in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.

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