Odd Child Out

Gilly Macmillan brings back Detective Inspector Jim Clemo in “Odd Child Out” (William Morrow, 402 pages).

Clemo has returned to the police force following a leave of absence after an emotionally devastating investigation.

The Bristol police are notified that a woman claims to have witnessed two teenage boys having an argument near a canal.

When one of the boys is pulled from the canal, in a coma and barely clinging to life, the case is referred to the Bristol Criminal Investigation Division. The two boys are students of the elite preparatory school, Medes College.

The victim found in the canal is Noah Sadler, a 15-year- old terminally ill cancer patient. His alleged assailant is his best friend, Abdi Mahad, a refugee from Somalia who disappears not long after the incident.

The case takes a tragic turn when Noah Sadler fails to come out of his coma and dies in the hospital. The case threatens to ignite racial tensions in the city of Bristol which prompts DI Jim Clemo to find the truth surrounding the tragic life and death of Noah Sadler.

In a work which reads somewhat like an updated version of John Knowles’ “A Separate Peace,” Gilly Macmillan explores the fragility and often heartbreaking

element of teenage relationships set against a backdrop of modern Britain and the influx of immigrants who bear horrible psychological scars in this well-written,

poignant story.