Running Girl by Simon Mason
Published: January 2nd, 2014 (David Fickling Books)
Source: for review
Buy the book: Bookdepository
Meet Garvie Smith. Highest IQ ever recorded at Marsh Academy. Lowest ever grades. What's the point, anyway? Life sucks. Nothing ever happens.
Until Chloe Dow's body is pulled from a pond.
DI Singh is already on the case. Ambitious, uptight, methodical - he's determined to solve the mystery and get promoted. He doesn't need any 'assistance' from notorious slacker, Smith.
Or does he?
First of all, let me point out that I don't think this is a bad book. At least, I don't think so. Not really. It just really didn't work for me. I managed to finish it, but I didn't enjoy reading the book.
Okay, so what was my problem with this book? To be honest, I had several. The first is that everything is so completely unbelievable. The most popular girl in school disappears and the investigators have no idea who is behind Chloe's disappearance, yet Garvie is able to find clues in everything. I understand that Garvie has an IQ of about a billion and he's supposed to be smarted than me, I failed to believe about 3/4 of the theories he came up with. It didn't make sense that experienced adults fail to recover a single clue and a teenager pops up who finds so many clues he can write a book with them. Perhaps if the investigators wouldn't have been so useless, it would have been more realistic, but in this form, it really didn't work.
Another thing that bothered me was the flatness of the characters. They didn't come alive, didn't have their own distinct personalities or traits, and I think that's part of the reason I really didn't connect to this story. For me, the characters need to carry the story. In this case, they didn't. Sure, you could see the difference in thinking when we switch from Garvie to Singh, but that is mainly because Singh's thoughts keep drifting off to him being the youngest DI, so it's not like there's a different voice there, not really.
I love books with either great chemistry between the characters, funny dialogue or books that make me feel things, but this book didn't have any of these things. I finished it because I wanted to know who did it, but when I found out it wasn't a surprise at all. The way to get there was ridiculous and involved a break-in to investigate evidence at the scene and caused a massive eyerolling marathon. Nope. Not buying it.
If you like mysteries with a super smart character and don't mind if the story is completely unbelievable, you might want to pick Running Girl up. If you don't, I think it's best to stay away.