Monday, July 4, 2011


Canada Day weekend in my opinion is meant for intense reading in a lawn chair with occasional breaks for socializing, munching on summer foods and watching fireworks. So this weekend was perfect because I decided to open Blink and Caution, by Tim Wynne-Jones. I have always enjoyed Tim’s work. I think he’s a writer for all ages.

Blink and Caution is apparently a young adult novel, but this fairly old adult couldn’t put it down. Blink is sixteen and living on the street to avoid his vicious stepfather and hopeless mother. His current scam scrounging leftover room service breakfasts in an upscale hotel takes a bizarre and dangerous turn when he witnesses three thugs apparently trashing a hotel room. A little fast action nets him a room key, a pile of cash and a Blackberry. Soon the news is full of the kidnapping of Jack Niven, CEO of a controversial mining company embroiled in a legal wrangle with native protestors over a proposed project. Only Blink knows that Jack Niven walked out of that hotel very much in charge of the situation and the thugs. Blink’s response to the frantic calls from Niven’s daughter pulls him into a situation beyond his control.

Caution, on the run from an unthinkable action in her past, is filled with self-loathing and on her own, a girl with courage and edge, streetwise with some surprising skills. She is desperate to escape from her sadistic drug-dealing boyfriend, Merlin, who seems to be able to follow her anywhere. Perhaps in retrospect, Merlin was not the right guy to steal money from. Caution has every reason to get out of Toronto.

When their paths cross (as we know they will) they are drawn into dangerous physical and emotional territory with only each other to rely on. That’s tough when trust doesn’t come easy. Blink and Caution is a satisfying and readable adventure with characters worth caring about. It’s a compelling story, well written. I loved it.

One of the things I value about mysteries is their ability to change the way you view the world. You’ll never look at street kids the same way after this. Too bad all their stories don’t all play out like Blink’s and Caution’s.

For more on multi-award-winning author Tim Wynne-Jones, check out

Mary Jane Maffini rides herd on three (soon to be three and a half) mystery series and a couple of dozen short stories. Her thirteenth mystery novel, The Busy Woman’s Guide to Murder, which hit the bookshelves this spring, is brimming with names, no two the same.


  1. I'm a big fan of Tim Wynne-Jones. I read Odd's End some years ago and scared myself witless. Tim knows how create creepy atmosphere and build tension to the breaking point.

  2. Odd's End was fabulous! I get creeped out whenever I think of it. Maybe I'll go back and reread.