Fremantle Press, April 2008
Reviewed by Kerrie Smith
The body of the floater in the Swan River doesn't have a lot to identify
it - the face is mutilated, the fingertips gone - but Monty McGuire, head
of Perth's Serious Crime Squad is pretty sure his team is well on the way
to identifying it.
D.S. Stevie Hooper and lifelong friend Tash are now both members of the
Cyber Predator Team, charged with tracking down paedophiles who stalk
children in internet chat rooms. Part of their job also is to visit
schools talking to children about cyber safety. Stevie heads the team but
there are times when she finds Tash, an impulsive risk taker, hard to
The disappearance of an 11 year old girl, and the eventual finding of her
body in a dumpster, brings Monty and Stevie, already lovers and parents of
six year old Izzy, together into a joint operation directed by Monty.
There's a lot to like about this book apart from the fact that it is well
crafted, and Felicity Young is a more than accomplished writer. It
explores themes that are issues for many parents in the western world -
the way children use internet chat rooms and cyber technology in general;
the threat to children from paedophiles; and effects of a society in which
most parents work, on the way their children are growing up and the risks
they are exposed to.
HARUM SCARUM further develops the relationship between Monty and Stevie,
following on from AN EASEFUL DEATH, the first in the Stevie Hooper series.
As with both her earlier novels Young clearly locates her story within a
West Australian landscape.
I found HARUM SCARUM an enjoyable read with considerable credibility. The
glossary of internet slang provided at the beginning was useful in
interpreting the chat room conversations. Perhaps some of the threads of
the novel finally converged a little too coincidentally, some problems
were resolved a little too easily, but this is fiction, and you can do
things here that may not happen in real life. The book seems to close a
chapter in Stevie's life and I'm ready for the next to open.
HARUM SCARUM is Felicity Young's third published novel in 4 years and the
second Stevie Hooper novel. AN EASEFUL DEATH, the first Stevie Hooper
novel, was published in 2007. Youngs website is at
http://www.felicityyoung.com/ . HARUM SCARUM is available through
March 2008 review originally posted on Murder and Mayhem
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