It’s a hot, hot summer, and in the depths of the Toronto Transit Authority’s Lost and Found, 17-year-old Duncan is cataloging lost things and sifting through accumulated junk. And between Jacob, the cranky old man who runs the place, and the endless dusty boxes overflowing with stuff no one will ever claim, Duncan’s just about had enough. Then he finds a little leather book. It’s a diary filled with the dark and dirty secrets of a twisted mind, a serial killer stalking his prey in the subway. And Duncan can’t make himself stop reading.
What would you do with a book like that? How far would you go to catch a madman?
And what if time was running out. . . .
McNamee's (Hate You) taut novel reads like a fast-paced nail-biter of a movie. Narrator Duncan has a summer job working in the lost-and-found department of the Toronto subway system, filing away discarded jackets and trinkets, bored by both the work and his sad-sack boss ("If you think of a half-deflated soccer ball with two of the hairiest ears you've ever seen attached to it, you've got a good picture of Jacob"). Among the lost items he discovers a diary, "a little leather book, with a cover that feels like skin": early entries detail the writer's grisly experiments on animals; he later graduates to arson. In his most recent entries, the writer describes three women he sees every day on the subway and tries to decide which one to kill. When the police brush off Duncan ("You don't seem like a bad kid," says the cop at the precinct. "But maybe you should find a better way to spend your summer vacation"), he enlists his friends Vinny and Wayne to help him catch the would-be killer; an ancillary story line, about Duncan's failed attempt to rescue a drowning girl, sheds light on Duncan's desperate need to be a savior. If aspects of the plot seem a bit overdetermined, there remains much to hook the audience. The timing never falters, and the dialogue stays crisp. Duncan and his friends no clean-cut do-gooders have gritty, complex personalities. A well-turned thriller. Ages 12-up.
This has to be one of my favorite thriller books. Awesomeness, total awesomeness...