|| by Sam North
Set in foggy Greenwich by the River Thames, young Oliver (12), after chemotherapy, is sent to live with his Grandmother and her strange companion Lena. His father is missing, his mother very ill. Grandma lives in a spooky house by a scrap yard, squeezed in beside a huge power station. Oliver arrives with his cat Flop to discover his Grandma hates cats. Worse she's a famous psychic and gets visitors at all hours from people wanting to talk to the dead.
Then there is silent Justine, a girl living in the loft whose mother is in prison! Add to the mix crazy Harriet who has seen every fortune teller in the whole of London hoping for news of the perfect man and the beautiful Aura who volunteers in the library, but was once like Oliver, completely bald after treatment. Oliver is scared to death to go to school because he has no hair and on no account will he remove his hat. All would be well except he meets Bullet - a mean spirited street kid who intends to lead Oliver astray.
Then comes the day that Oliver and Justine find a beautiful dog with it's throat cut on the mud at low tide. Justine begins to speak at last - but for Oliver it's the trigger for the start of his own psychic journey, one that could lead him to an early grave. Who killed the dog? Who did it belong to? Oliver begins to obsess and Grandma Otis knows there will be terrible trouble.
Atmospheric, often funny - full of strange characters that could have stepped out of a contemporary Dicken's novel 'Mean Tide' is well worth discovering. (Print and E-book on iTunes)