Acceleration by Graham McNamee
“It’s a hot, hot summer, and in the depths of the Toronto Transit Authority’s Lost and Found, 17-year-old Duncan is cataloging lost things and sifting through accumulated junk. And between Jacob, the cranky old man who runs the place, and the endless dusty boxes overflowing with stuff no one will ever claim, Duncan’s just about had enough. Then he finds a little leather book. It’s a diary filled with the dark and dirty secrets of a twisted mind, a serial killer stalking his prey in the subway. And Duncan can’t make himself stop reading.
What would you do with a book like that? How far would you go to catch a madman?
And what if time was running out. . . .”
Duncan is an average kid living an average life in a blue collar section of Toronto. He takes a summer job working in the lost and found (aka “The Morgue”) of the subway. There he finds a diary and decides to read it.
Once he realizes it is the diary of a serial killer in training Duncan doesn’t know what to do. He tries to take it to the police, who ignore him. He decides to try to find out who “Roach” (the nickname he gives the diary’s author) is and what is his next move. He enlists first the help of his friend Vinnie. Vinnie is smart and soon figures out where “Roach” feels most comfortable. That is where he is likely to strike, or so Vinnie believes because of all the books he has read.
Wayne is Duncan’s oldest friend. They grew up in “the jungle” (the nickname of the housing complex where all three live) together. Wayne is a petty criminal and is working at a fast food place for the summer. Wayne and Vinnie don’t get along so Duncan ends up working first with Vinnie and then with Wayne to solve this mystery.
It isn’t the most realistic mystery ever. How many teenage boys would actually stalk a serial killer, and then break into his house (with his deaf grandmother in the living room)? It is a compelling story though. I wanted Duncan to catch “Roach”.
Each character had his good qualities and his flaws. Vinnie has a deformed arm and hand and is super sensitive about it. He is smart but cautious. Wayne is not the sharpest knife in the drawer but he is street savvy and that comes in handy when Duncan decides to break into “Roach’s” house. Duncan is plagued by a drowning death he witnessed and was unable to save the girl. He is looking for some sort of redemption.
I listened to the audio CD of this book. The reader did an excellent job of setting the tone and the mood. I would recommend this book to teen boys but I think girls will enjoy it too. It is, as many mysteries are, fairly predictable but an entertaining read.