Thursday, October 13, 2016

Holding smoke by Elle Cosimano

John "Smoke" Conlan is in the Y - a juvenile rehabilitation centre in Denver, Colorado.  He is serving time for two murders, his English teacher and a teenage boy, but he only has the blood of one person on his hands not two.  The Y is a brutal place where all the inmates are guilty of a serious crime, and you have to be strong and keep your wits about you at all times if you want to stay alive.  Some people rely on brute force for respect, but Smoke provides a unique service instead - he trades in information about the outside world.  

Everyone in the Y thinks he has amazing contacts on the outside, but the truth is that at night when everyone else is asleep he slips out of his body and walks the streets looking for information he can use and trade on the inside.  Some of the information he finds is ordered by the inmates through a carefully controlled and secretive method, but other information he finds while he is roaming the streets.  When he stumbles across a person who can see him when he is out completing an order one day his life changes - and becomes infinitely more complicated.  

John lives up to his nickname Smoke in more ways than one, because when he leaves his body he becomes a hazy version of himself and with each visit outside his body he loses strands of his being that drift away like smoke in a breeze.  When he discovers that he is literally losing threads of himself each time he leaves his body, Smoke has to make the hard decision of taking the easy road and protecting himself, or risking his life and possibly his soul to do the right thing.

Elle Cosimano created a fresh and unique crime thriller with her books Nearly gone and Nearly found - adding a touch of the supernatural to the thriller/mystery genre.  With Holding smoke Cosimano has once again blended together the thriller/mystery and the supernatural, but this time the supernatural is something that could be true for anyone who had been through the same situation as Smoke, which makes it completely believable.  Smoke is a character you can't help but like, for me simply because he was a victim of circumstance and while he does look out for himself, ultimately he is willing to make sacrifices to do the right thing.

Cosimano is an amazing writer, and she has managed to carve off a little slice of the young adult writing market - something that is not easy to do at all.  The world she has created is rich in the details that make life "real", but not so focused on being unique and new that she comes across as being "too clever".  There is a lot to like here, and nothing to dislike, and I can't wait to see what comes next from this very talented author.

If you like this book then try:

Reviewed by Brilla

No comments:

Post a Comment