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The International Writers Magazine: REVIEWS

Grandma Swivelhead, fortune tellers, bodies in the Thames, a story of a young boy's induction to London's ghostworld
by the author of 'Curse of the Nibelung' and 'Another Place to Die'

Extract from Mean Tide:
'Oliver began to shake. Grandma was possessed. Any moment now something utterly gross was going to crawl out of his Grandma's head and try to attack him. Or worse, her head was going to spin all the way around! She was Grandma Swivelhead. Run, he told his legs, run... but nothing happened.'

Mean Tide by Sam North
ISBN: 978-1-4092-0354-4
Lulu Press Pub June 2008
Linda Regan

Twelve year old Oliver has survived cancer and chemotherapy. His mother is in a clinic and his father is missing in Africa. His only family, beside his pet cat, Flop, is his grandmother. He is sent, carrying Flop in a basket, to live with her in Greenwich and he dreads what might happen to him as he arrives at this scary old Greenwich riverside house besides a looming power station.

Grandma Otis is a talented medium and Oliver soon discovers he too has inherited the gift. He sets off to discover his new home and quickly makes friends, but when he and the young lodger, Justine stumble across a beautiful dog with it's throat cut in the river, and then a day later find a murdered man chained to an upturned boat Oliver is curiously affected. His Grandma is deeply concerned as Oliver begins to show a keen interest in his own psychic skills and wants to find out more about the dead man.

Mean Tide

His adventure includes a cast of unusual and colourfully drawn characters, including a homeless, streetwise and dangerous runaway teenager who he mistakes for a friend; an aspiring and beautiful actress, Aura, with whom he shares a secret; a Chinese neighbour with a garage full of owls, Harriet who has seen every fortune teller in London and then there’s Flop, the cat with a personality of his own. Not forgetting silent Justine, whose mother is in prison.

Every character in the book is unique, eccentric, vulnerable, and real. Oliver’s bravery and naivety lead him into danger, and there were many times when I opened my mouth to warn him then realised I was talking to a book. He made me laugh and cry and care.

This book reminded me of one of those nests of Balkan dolls, the more the story unfolded, the more layers I found to enjoy: a crime, a touch of romance, humour and pathos. It is a book for everyone, no matter what age. It is a beautifully written, unusual and a good story, one I was sad to finish.

© Linda Regan
Author of Behind You

See also Diamonds - The Rush of '72 by Sam North
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