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"The Boy in the Field," by Margot Livesay

Updated: Sep 29, 2020

Start “The Boy in the Field,” and you’re immediately into it. At center stage are three British siblings coming to grips with “something enormous” that threatens their ordinary lives. This pageturner is a mystery wrapped in an engaging family story, one alternately told by the Lang children, Matthew, 18, a stereotypical oldest; Zoe, 16, an impulsive sprite, and Duncan, 13, a boy of Turkish descent adopted by Betsy and Hal, the children’s parents.

The book begins with Matthew, Zoe and Duncan discovering an unconscious young man bleeding out in a field. Their find occurs because their father didn’t pick them up at school and they walked home. The reason Hal was late is one of secrets revealed in the novel, as a trustworthy detective tries to find the perpetrator who accosted Karel Lustig and uncover the motivation for the attack.

Also helping in the investigation, but quietly on the side and unbeknownst to the police, is Matthew, who goes to extraordinary means to right the wrong, engaging others in his schemes.

While Matthew’s energies are spent on detective work, Zoe goes out on a limb with a young man she meets, and Duncan, frightened by the crime, seeks solace in the hunt to find his birth mother.

What begins as a simple tale of three children, and their mom and dad, mushrooms into a complex story that takes each of its characters on a realistic journey of self-discovery.

“The Boy in the Field” is cleverly written, believable and should appeal to a wide range of book lovers. Its last chapter is especially welcome with Livesey jumping 8 ½ years ahead enabling readers to see where the future takes Matthew, Zoe and Duncan, thoroughly likeable siblings I was sad to part with.

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