Graham McNamee, Author . Random/Lamb $15.95 (224p) ISBN 978-0-385-73119-5

McNamee's (Hate You ) taut novel reads like a fast-paced nail-biter of a movie. Narrator Duncan has a summer job working in the lost-and-found department of the Toronto subway system, filing away discarded jackets and trinkets, bored by both the work and his sad-sack boss ("If you think of a half-deflated soccer ball with two of the hairiest ears you've ever seen attached to it, you've got a good picture of Jacob"). Among the lost items he discovers a diary, "a little leather book, with a cover that feels like skin": early entries detail the writer's grisly experiments on animals; he later graduates to arson. In his most recent entries, the writer describes three women he sees every day on the subway and tries to decide which one to kill. When the police brush off Duncan ("You don't seem like a bad kid," says the cop at the precinct. "But maybe you should find a better way to spend your summer vacation"), he enlists his friends Vinny and Wayne to help him catch the would-be killer; an ancillary story line, about Duncan's failed attempt to rescue a drowning girl, sheds light on Duncan's desperate need to be a savior. If aspects of the plot seem a bit overdetermined, there remains much to hook the audience. The timing never falters, and the dialogue stays crisp. Duncan and his friends—no clean-cut do-gooders—have gritty, complex personalities. A well-turned thriller. Ages 12-up. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 11/10/2003
Release date: 10/01/2003
Mass Market Paperbound - 210 pages - 978-0-440-23836-2
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