Boy, did Blink get off on the wrong floor. All he wanted was to steal some breakfast for his empty belly, but instead he stumbled upon a fake kidnapping and a mobile phone dropped by an “abducted” CEO, giving Blink a link to his perfect blonde daughter. Now Blink is on the run, but it’ll be OK as long as he’s smart enough to stay in the game and keep Captain Panic locked in his hold. Enter a girl named Caution. As in Caution: Watch Your Step. She’s also on the run, from a drug-dealer boyfriend and from a nightmare in her past that won’t let her go. When she spies Blink at the bus station, Caution can see he’s an easy mark. But there’s something about this naïve, skinny street punk, whom she only wanted to rob, that tugs at her heart, a heart she thought deserved not to feel. Charged with suspense and intrigue, this taut novel trails two deeply compelling characters as they forge a blackmail scheme that is foolhardy at best, disastrous at worst – along with a fated, tender partnership that will offer them each a rare chance for redemption.
Wynne-Jones (The Uninvited) delivers a dazzling crime novel that evokes the taut writing and tropes of hard-boiled fiction while interweaving social justice themes and a solid sense of realism. Blink has been living on the streets ever since running away from his abusive stepfather. While on a foray into a hotel to scavenge for leftover room service food, he witnesses an oil executive's faked kidnapping and ends up getting involved as he realizes the implications of the crime. Along the way, he meets Caution, on the run both from her abusive, drug-dealing boyfriend and her guilt over the accidental shooting death of her brother. The two teens are caught up in environmental and racial issues that are far beyond their ability to remedy, and Wynne-Jones often using a surprisingly effective second-person voice focuses on their attempts to escape immediate danger and repair their internal emotional damage. Blink and Caution's gradual need to trust each other to heal drives the story forward, and should provide ample thrills to lovers of crime novels and strong teen characters. Ages 14 up.