Blink & Caution by Tim Wynne-Jones (2011)

Look up at the Plaza Regent, Blink, in the shivery morning light. Count the floors – take your pick (p 3).

Blink lives on the street. He sneaks into hotels and steals food from the room service trays. One morning, while scrounging, something weird happens inside a hotel room. A crash… then a thump, padded by silence. Three rough-looking men leaving with another. A Suit. They ditch the room key, which Blink uses to enter the room and a world of weird. He takes the wallet containing a wad of cash and a picture of a beautiful girl. Perhaps foolishly, he takes the smart phone.

Caution can’t forgive herself for murdering her brother, Spencer. She’s sentenced herself to death by magic. Merlin, a dealer and thug, is her executioner. She’s living out a death sentence, until she takes Merlin’s stash and runs. Confident he will find her and finally kill her, she believes she is getting what she deserves.

Their stories converge as Blink attempts to unravel the mysterious crime he witnessed that shivery morning and Caution runs from her abuse boyfriend.

The suspense starts immediately and lets up only enough for the two characters to have brief flashbacks, explaining the circumstances that led to their current dire state. The language is mostly lyrical, with a fine cadance and only a few missteps with over-expounded storytelling or cliché lines such as, “Anyway, the only law on your side right about now is the law of survival” (p 63).

On occassion the convoluted plot had me skeptical but I was invested in the characters. So I suspended by disbelief and went along for the ride. I’m glad I did.

Read other reviews:
A Chair, a Fireplace and a Tea Cozy
Annette’s Book Spot
Eve’s Book Addiction
Kirkus (starred)
National Post (a pretty close to perfect review)

Library copy | ISBN 978-0763639839 | Ages 14 and up | 342 pages | $16.99

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