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Chasing the Dark [Paperback]

Sam Hepburn
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
RRP: 6.99
Price: 5.24 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

6 Jun 2013
Joe's mum is dead. Killed in a hit-and-run car crash, along with someone he's never heard of. Angry and alone, Joe takes his dog for a late night walk. He finds himself at the gates of an empty mansion: a house of glass belonging to an old movie star. And it's here that Joe unlocks the dangerous mystery of what happened that night ... CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE TRAILER 'An excellent page-turning adventure...' - Julia Eccleshare, Love Reading for Kids 'An absolute pleasure and delight...' - Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books 'This page-turning adventure story is well-paced and full of surprises ... An excellent contemporary detective story, Chasing the ...

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Chasing the Dark + Nowhere (Nowhere Book 1) + The Poison Boy
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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Chicken House; 1 edition (6 Jun 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1908435682
  • ISBN-13: 978-1908435682
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.8 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 184,475 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
By K. J. Noyes TOP 500 REVIEWER
A teenage thriller/chase adventure. And a pretty good one too.

Following similar plot lines to adult thrillers, there's a mystery, a good guy and his friends, some bad guys and an enigmatic homeless man.

There's a definite air of Great Expectations at the start. With an innocent and grieving Joe missing his mum, dead in a car crash, he quickly meets a Magwitch-like tramp who needs his help and soon after a reclusive old woman at the heart of another murder mystery, who distinctly reminded me of Miss Havisham.

But apart from those two, it's very much a modern thriller: Teenage Joe is sent to live with his sour aunt after his mum is killed in a car crash. But why was she in a stranger's car at all... A journalist's? Joe stumbles upon clues that reveal it may not have been an accident.

Joe gets his friends to help and picks up an older female sidekick, who seems to be there to get beaten up a lot. I wasn't too sure about her motivation to help - there are gangsters involved that want to hurt her and she very easily bends to the leadership of the younger boy.

Joe is likeable but at the same time his voice didn't always feel real - occasional teen-speak like "sicker" seemed a bit 'thrown in'. His knack of spotting the missed clues from chapters earlier was also a bit too lucky.

It's a fast-moving story, with lots of action. Despite my comments above, I did enjoy the read ad guessing who the bad guys really were. And hadn't quite guessed the connections between the conspiracies.

It's a decent teenage thriller. Deserves an audience.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Pacy action thriller spoilt by ending 26 Nov 2013
By Avocet
This book has a lot going for it.

The protagonist is a likeable, funny, brave boy called Joe on a quest to solve the mystery of his mother's tragic death. The support cast include a loveable but smelly Ukrainian ex-convict, Joe's geeky but clever best friend Bailey and his gangsta elder brother, a young ukrainian refugee girl, a nice Professor, Joe's horrible aunt and some evil thuggish villains.

There is humour, mystery, action and pace - the pages kept turning as the pace was stepped up and mystery deepened.

The threads of the complex mystery are successfully drawn together in the exciting climax.

So why didn't I give it more than 3 stars? I wanted to. Halfway through, I thought it was on track for 5 stars. But the ending just went on and on and became totally cheesy by the end. Don't get me wrong - I like happy endings. I like it when things are resolved. But this was just too much...
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5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't stop reading 1 Nov 2013
OK, anyone who knows me will find this surprising, I am still in bed and it is lunchtime. Why? Because my 12 year old and I, having started reading Chasing the Dark out loud earlier this morning (we were about half way through) couldn't stop and have just finished it. It was so exciting, the action sequences vivid, logical, pacy and real. The sorrow of Joe losing his mother is a dodgy car crash gripped us both, and then the gradually accumulating evidence that it wasn't a simple accident. As a grown up, of course I could spot the origins in real life of some of the plot ideas, but that would not be so clear to a younger reader. And Hepburn only used a famous case as a jumping off point for a very imaginative rethink. And the twists and turns kept me thoroughly engaged with all the vivid characters and their doings. I also enjoyed doing the Russian accents. 12 year old absolutely loved it, saying: 'Enjoyable, funny, good characters and descriptions, good storyline. Easy to follow, dark and quite scary in places'. He loved Oz the dog, and the quirky bits of humour as well. More please.
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Chasing the Dark is a young adult/middle grade take on the old detective story-line of solving a mystery, and I've got to admit, I enjoyed Joe's young perspective of things, and simply had to know how this particular mystery ends.

The book started kind of slow. Not "boring-when-do-the-interesting-bits-come-into-play?!" kind of slow, but the kind of slow you get when you're learning to know the main character, his situation and the painful circumstances he finds himself in. Also, the kind of slow you get when the main character himself still hasn't figured out there's something off going on.

But once Joe smells something fishy, he starts a process of investigating that I find very realistic and interesting. Sometimes, Joe gets stuck and sometimes he misreads the signs. And there isn't action all the time, it's actually pretty centered around the last chapters, and that actually adds to the story because at the end of the day, investigating a death no one finds suspicious when you're a kid is not going to be a piece of cake. And all the pieces are not going to magically fall into your lap.

One of the greatest things about this book in my opinion is that I can totally see Joe growing up to become and be THAT detective that has the super exciting, dangerous and mindboggling adventures.

Speaking of Joe... he's a really good kid. I mean it! He grew up too fast and lost too much in his young life, laced with poverty and roughness, but he has the greatest heart and he will do things that remind him of his own trauma just to comfort others. his deep and hard revelations on life really stuck with me, especially considering that he's a child.
He is not perfect at all, don't mistake.
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