Scarecrow Paperback – 5 Oct 2017
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"A gripping thriller that will have readers on the edge of their seats and more than a little uncomfortable." (The Bookbag)
About the Author
Danny Weston is an author for children and young adults. He lives with his wife in Edinburgh.
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A story set in the Scottish highlands about a grumpy scarecrow called Philbert and his unlikely friendship with a teen from London. On the surface this sounds like a story for younger readers. In fact, it is a gripping thriller that will have readers on the edge of their seats and more than a little uncomfortable. With the skill of a clearly experienced and talented writer, Danny Weston hooks us into this story from the first page of Chapter One as Jack tries to find out why he has been dragged from his bed in the early hours of the morning and forced to leave his mobile phone at home in London. The author quickly moves on to slowly drip-feed us the explanation of events in a way that ensures that the reader is every bit as keen as Jack to find out what is going on.
We are then introduced to an entirely different storyline that keeps us guessing right up to the climax of the book. Jack thinks he’s seen something impossible – for a moment he imagined he saw a scarecrow move. No, more than move. Jack is convinced he saw the scarecrow grab a bird and eat it alive, leaving only a smudge of blood and a couple of feathers. He tries to convince himself that it’s simply because he hasn’t taken his medicine for depression. However, the more he investigates the more real the scarecrow becomes: the scarecrow can talk, he has a name and a very distinctive personality.
As the drama unfolds – and dad’s enemies arrive – we are still trying to figure out how much is real and how much is in Jack’s mind. As I read on, I feared the ending was going to be left open for the reader to decide and I was, therefore, pleased to find we do get a definite answer to this ongoing question at the end of the book. (Sorry you will have to read the book to find out!)
I’m aware that it’s unusual to devote so much of a review to the plot but this clever, and perhaps unique, premise deserves the attention. Besides all the other important elements – setting, characterisation, dialogue and pace – are spot on and there’s little, if anything, to comment on.