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Twitch - M.G. Leonard

Twitch is a twelve-year-old with three pet chickens, four pigeons, swallows nesting in his bedroom and a passion for bird-spotting. On the first day of summer holidays, he arrives at his secret bird-watching hide in the local nature reserve to find police everywhere: a convicted bank-robber and murderer has broken out of prison and is hiding in Aves Wood. Twitch soon finds himself entangled in the hunt for the dangerous prisoner. Can he turn his talents for bird-spotting to detective skills, and find the missing loot?

What a lovely book, with so many elements that it's bound to delight a range of readers - those who want a crime/mystery alongside those interested in the nature-oriented themes it contains.

The story follows Twitch, a bird-loving lad who longs to spend his summer days birdwatching in the local woods, as he battles bullies and baddies in a twisty, turny, fast and fun mystery by this fab author. There are plot twists, funny characters, red herrings and drama aplenty as Twitch tries to solve the various problems that are thrown at him throughout the book - friendship issues, mysterious strangers, untrainable pigeons and an escaped armed robber to name only a few!

I loved the themes in the book such as the friendship issues and relationships between Twitch and the other boys. These were skillfully and sensitively dealt with, and the different characters were all cleverly constructed so that readers really feel engaged and emapthetic towards Twitch as he deals with the issues that arise when he becomes friends with a boy who had previously bullied him. Twitch's frustration and sense of betrayal were visceral in their portrayal - brilliantly evoked as the story and the boys' relationship developed and changed.

I also loved the detail that went into the descriptions of the woods and birds - their calls and behaviours, their habits and quirks. The hens, pigeons and heron (Eggbum, Frazzle and Gilbert, to name only a few) almost become characters integral to the story, too, and provide several comic interludes in the suspense of the main plotline of the search for the escaped 'Robber Ryan' and the misssing five million pounds he has hidden in the woods.

Anyone who is a fan of the author's 'Adventures on Trains' series will not be disappointed with this quirky, thrilling page-turner, and it's bound to strike a note with fellow 'Twitchers' drawn to the character by his name who will enjoy the detail and settings it contains.

I'm looking forward to reading more of Twitch's adventures in future, and recommend this highly as a great summer adventure read!

Watch a Q and A from the author here:

Thank you to M G Leonard, Walker Books and Kirsten for having me on the blogtour for the launch of the book, which is out now.

Find out more at the following websites and links:

M.G.Leonard - Twitter: @MGLnrd

Review by Rich Simpson (@richreadalot) June 2021

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