Tag Archives: Daniel Finn

2012’s best twelve

For the 12th day of the 12th month of 2012 (I love this kind of thing!) I give you my list of the very best books. All twelve of them. (I know, there are really 13, but two for the price of one, sort of thing. Yes?)

All the books I have reviewed have been good, and it’s hard to pick the best. Except for the bestest of the best, because that one stood out by several miles, even back in January. And once we’ve got the twelves out of our system, next year I will have to go for a more restrained list. Always assuming people continue writing great books. Please do.

As always, I only include books published during the year. And here, the VERY BEST is:

Elizabeth Wein, Code Name Verity

Elizabeth Wein, Code Name Verity

Swiftly followed by some alphabetically listed and very marvellous runners-up:

Philip Caveney, Spy Another Day

Joshua Doder, Grk and the Phoney Macaroni

Daniel Finn, Call Down Thunder

Sally Gardner, Maggot Moon

Nick Green, Cat’s Cradle

Barry Hutchison, The Thirteenth Horseman

Wendy Meddour, A Hen in the Wardrobe, and The Black Cat Detectives

Gillian Philip, Wolfsbane

Terry Pratchett, Dodger

Celia Rees, This Is Not Forgiveness

Teri Terry, Slated

That’s it, dear readers. It was a good year, both generally, but also specifically for producing Code Name Verity, one of the best ever.

Call Down Thunder

It’s good. In fact, I’m beginning to suspect that Call Down Thunder is one of the best books I’ve read this year.

Written by Daniel Finn, who is really Will Gatti, and whose books I had quietly ignored after we met four years ago at the Bolton award. Not that I didn’t trust him to be good, but you know how it is. Very grateful that Will/Daniel suggested I might like this book.

Daniel Finn, Call Down Thunder

Call Down Thunder is not like other books, but a little Mal Peet-y if I have to describe it. Set in some Latin American country – I think – real, or made up, doesn’t matter. It’s got the right feel.

Young fisherman Reve and his sister Mi have been living with Tomas in the small fishing village Rinconda since their father was murdered and their mother disappeared. Mi suffers from weird fits, and has taken to living in a wrecked car on the beach, while Reve tries to be a good boy and friend and brother.

After a couple of bad things happen in Rinconda, Reve and Mi go to the big city to find their mother. More bad things happen to the two country teenagers who have never been out of their village before. It’s a tough and violent life, and a poor one, but with Mi’s second sight, and Reve’s hard work and courage, they eventually ‘arrive somewhere’ and can go on with living.

Daniel/Will has packed a lot into 300 pages. There is absolutely no waffle, and the dialogue is in some sort of dialect, which curiously enough doesn’t grate on the reader’s eyes. It’s just perfect. There’s a whole cast of fascinating characters, and so very believable.

You must read this. It’s yet more proof that the best books aren’t necessarily written by the best known writers.