cover image Angel's Gate

Angel's Gate

Gary Crew. Simon & Schuster, $16 (252pp) ISBN 978-0-689-80166-2

In the weird rural Australia of Crew's fiction (Strange Objects; No Such Country) it's not surprising to encounter characters out of The Road Warrior: feral children, a brutish prospector scratching around in the bush. Such types people the author's suspenseful new yarn. Kim, a boy in sixth grade, relates how gold hunter Paddy Flannagan is found murdered, prompting an all-out search for his two wild children, teenage Leena and eight-year-old Micky. Leena is captured and put into the care of Kim's father and mother, the town's only doctor and nurse. Under the assumption that Paddy's killer is still at large, Leena's whereabouts are kept secret--until Kimmy, as usual, spills the beans. Then he and his older sister's boyfriend find seemingly autistic Micky, who is likewise hidden. But as someone named ``Mister'' stalks the two Flannagan children, it falls to Kim to protect them. The mounting tension will keep readers glued to their seats. Teens used to the horrifying climaxes of adult suspense films or fiction may feel let down by the relatively innocuous resolution, but younger readers will probably be relieved. Ages 10-up. (Sept.)