By Marcus Sedgwick, published by Orion Books.
Goodreads synopsis: 1910. A cabin north of the Arctic Circle. Fifteen-year-old Sig Andersson is alone. Alone, except for the corpse of his father, who died earlier that day after falling through a weak spot on the ice-covered lake. His sister, Anna, and step-mother, Nadya, have gone to the local town for help. Then comes a knock at the door. It’s a man, the flash of a revolver’s butt at his hip, and a mean glare in his eyes. Sig has never seen him before but Wolff claims to have unfinished business with his father. As Sig gradually learns the awful truth about Wolff’s connection to his father, Sig finds his thoughts drawn to a certain box hidden on a shelf in the storeroom, in which lies his father’s prized possession – a revolver. When Anna returns alone, and Wolff begins to close in, Sigs choice is pulled into sharp focus. Should he use the gun, or not?
My review: REVOLVER was such a breath-taking read! At only about 200 pages, I devoured the whole thing in a day, and really couldn’t get enough of the suspenseful story. It wasn’t exactly ghostly, or spooky, like Marcus Sedgwick’s other titles that I’ve read so it was like a fresh new read in a very different genre from one of my favourite authors. The story began with Sig, a boy living in an Arctic wasteland who has just discovered the frozen dead body of his father who recently fell into a lake and froze to death. He brings the body inside and leaves it to thaw on the table, obviously not so sure what to do with it. A bit grim, but that was to my liking.
The first 75 or so pages were a little confusing for me, as the chapters kept switching back and forth to Sig’s father’s life when Sig was a child this past story leading up to how this mysterious man has turned up at Sig’s door, which happens near the end. That got a bit confusing, as I was reading this book on and off (in between school lessons!) all day, and it was hard to get used to the constantly switching times in the chapters. About halfway through, I finally grasped the concept properly which was a very good thing, as the flashbacks in the last half of the book were crucial to the current plot! I loved how the plot was centered around this one gun, that could change anything at any moment. It added a lot of suspense and climatic scenes to the book. Although fast paced, it was very enjoyable.
In 200 pages, I would have expected the character to have been pretty basic, with not much background or personality. However, Marcus Sedgwick just seems to have this way with fleshing-out characters and making them so real, in short stories. Sig had a great background, because his childhood and upbringing was cleverly revealed in the flashback-like chapters. His personality shone through in the darkest points of the book- especially when he was forced to make a decision involving the mysterious man and the Revolver at the ending. I really grew to like him, and supported him throughout.
Overall, REVOLVER was a heart-stopping, climatic adventure from beginning to end. It had a brilliant focus on how guns can change a family around, and was told very cleverly through two separate time periods in alternating chapters. I really loved the characters, both of Sig and his father, and would really recommend the book to those looking for a psychological thriller to curl up with right now as the weather is slowly getting a lot colder here in the UK and starting to resemble the arctic wasteland (at least it is in London :)).
I borrowed a copy of REVOLVER from my local library.