Title: Artie and the Grime Wave
Author: Richard Roxburgh
Date Read: 18/10/2016 – 08/11/2016
If I’m honest, I really only bought this book because I like Richard Roxburgh’s acting work and he was doing an author event at my workplace and I wanted his autograph for that. This book was okay, but having said that, had I been twelve when I read it, I think I would have really enjoyed it.
Artie lives with his terminally angry sister, Lola, and their mother, who has been stricken with grief and barely left the house since Artie’s father died some years ago. But when he and his best friend Bumshoe discover a Cave Of Possibly Stolen Goods, it’s the beginning of an adventure that leads to an organised crime racket that goes all the way to the Mayor.
The characters were definitely the strength of this book. Roxburgh has created a vibrant, diverse community. Many are over-the-top, with a lot of influence from authors like Roald Dahl, but that adds a vibrancy that will appeal to younger readers. Roxburgh’s own illustrations were larger-than-life and added additional colour.
I did find that the writing sometimes told rather than showed, and didn’t always flow as smoothly as it might have. There were also some authorial interjections, which have always annoyed me, though to be fair, that is a personal preference. While I hate this term, I have to admit that it did feel like a “boy’s book” – there were few female characters, and they were largely outlandish. The main two boys had a bit more realism to them.
Having said all that, this is a strong first novel and I am sure that the follow-up will smooth over some of these debut-novel hiccups.