, winner of the 1994 Carnegie Medal, serves as a sinister warning to any young runaway and not just because there is a killer on the loose. Narrated by 17-year-old Link, homeless and jobless in London after being driven out of home by a drunken, abusive stepfather, he vividly recounts the day-to-day experiences of a homeless person. Because he tells it like it is, his descriptions of sleeping rough shatter any romantic notions: "So you pick your spot. Wherever it is ... it's going to have a floor of stone, tile, concrete or brick. In other words it's going to be hard and cold. It might be a bit cramped, too--shop doorways often are. And remember, if it's winter you're going to be half-frozen before you even start."
If this was just another diatribe on the perils of sleeping rough, the reader's interest would soon wane but it is far more gripping than that. The author alternates Link's tale with that of an unknown serial killer preying on the homeless. You, the reader, see how closely their lives brush against each other and know it's only a matter of time before they clash. Will Link be joining the other recruits in the cellar--what a deterrent that would be! (Age 11 and over.) --Nicola Perry
About the Author
Robert Swindells lives on the Yorkshire moors and is a full-time writer. He has won the Children's Book Award twice, for BROTHER IN THE LAND and for ROOM 13. In 1994, he won the Carnegie Medal for STONE COLD, and also the Sheffield Book Award.