2 out of 4 stars
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Incendiary Creek by F. A Schiavone is a relatively short story about a missing teenager called Dudley. Dudley is a troubled kid with a high intellect but poor social skills. He bullies other kids and often indulges in fights. One day Dudley and two other kids were fighting and something unexpected happened. When Dudley's parents didn't find their son at the dinner table, they became worried and began searching for him but were unable to find him.
After this futile search, they contacted the police expecting to find their son. The police interrogated his close friends and some persons who might have seen Dudley on that particular day. The police found some lead and was able to narrow down the list of suspects to only two people, Tod and Vince. Is Dudley dead or something horrible has happened to him? These are the typical questions that arises in the reader's mind. But the author shocks the reader with an unexpected twist at the end of the story.
I like that this story tries to convey the archetypal problems of teenage-life. Dudley exemplifies a troubled kid with an overprotective mother. In the process of getting good grades Dudley has been ostracized from the society. To conceal his insecurities, he indulges in fights and bullies others. It shows us how a kid can end up as a social disaster when he/she is not given the freedom to socialize. Also, it's a good lesson for parents who are trying to rear up a kid while averting these problems. I mostly like the twist in the plot at the end of the story. It caught me off guard.
This book mostly disappointed me. Many parts of the story were completely unbelievable and ridiculous. The characters in the story were not believable. Tod is a kid who eavesdrops on his parents' conversations and has access to his father's weapons. Tod and his friends formed a gang called Big Guys and often takes part in fights with the gang called the Taurans. I hardly believe any of these can happen in real life. Also, when the police officer was interrogating the people living in the vicinity where Dudley was last seen, all of those people said that they saw Dudley. Even though Dudley was walking alone without making any noise, everyone was able to see him. Clearly, the characters of the story were not properly developed. Probably the most believable character in the story was Vince.
I rate this book 2 out of 4 stars. The lack of character development and unbelievable plot is the reason I didn't give it a higher rating. The reason I didn't give it a 1 is because it shocked me at the very last moment. I don't recommend this book to someone who is a voracious reader of crime novels. Someone who doesn't like bulky and boring books might find this interesting.
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