16 August 2014

Legal Thrillers for Kids

Legal Thriller | Theodore Boone: The Abduction | John Grisham

Into every hotshot best selling writer's life, some kids or grandkids will appear. Suddenly, the writer will realise that there's nothing really good out there for these super-awesome wonders of the universe. Thus did Terry Pratchett and John Grisham turn their keyboards towards the eager eyes of the tweens of the world.

The Abduction is the second Theodore Boone book. Theo is an eighth class student, and a lawyer at heart. The son of two famous lawyers of a small town in the USA, he is in and out of the courtroom, and possibly knows more about the law than many smart adults. Having liked the first book, we eagerly reach for this, the second.

And we are not disappointed. Grisham made his name as a pacy writer of complex legal twists and turns. He maintains much of that in the new child-friendly format, and the constraints of handling a story for the adults of tomorrow are handled deftly. These are not detective stories, despite the claim of one of the publisher's blurbs that link it to Nancy Drew (come to that, Nancy Drew was more about makeup than detection, meh); no, they bring you to the law.

Theo's good friend April Finnemore, has disappeared from her house in the night. Theo knows her mother is lying about the sequence of events, and tells his parents so. In the meantime, while police hunt all over the town, and the local TV channel keeps up a high-pitched repetition of meagre facts, April's father has vanished on a band-tour, and a convict cousin-cum-penpal of hers has been found in the vicinity, having busted out of jail. While the police try to convince the convict to confess and release the girl instead of angling for 'deals', Theo's ex-lawyer uncle gets tips from the local underworld, and the two of them pick up on clues to track April down.

There are side stories about dive-bombing parrots, and other everyday trivia. Still, you end up carrying away lessons about your rights, city ordinances, abuse of power and position, and other righteous stuff in a very slickly packaged story for kids of all ages.

Does that mean I will tell you about Theodore Boone and Theodore Boone: The Accused​? Heh heh. Hang around. I read those some months ago, and may get around to telling you about them some day. Or you can just go read them for yourself.

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