Reboot Review: Weirdo by Cathi Unsworth


WeirdoCathi Unsworth | Simon and Schuster
Reviewer: Jim Magwood


13431859  “And all he saw in her eyes was naked fear.”

In 1984, fifteen-year-old Corinne was locked away for the murder of a fellow teen. The evil of the act had her being called Wicked Witch of the East and her town banded against her. Keep her away.

It was a time when young people were demanding more, refusing guidance from parents and peers alike, and were caught in the trap of evil cloaked in the guise of independence.

It is now twenty years later, she is still locked in a hospital, still paralyzed with fear. A private detective with his own fears has been sent on a mission to determine whether there was someone else, someone Corrine refuses to even acknowledge.

But the town still has its secrets and still hides its own. How can he dig back twenty years into an era of teen isolation and fear and find those who might be able to uncover the secrets – if there are any?

Cathi Unsworth knows of the times and troubles, the hidden struggles, the desperate drive for acceptance. She knows the minds of those who would help and those who would hurt. She knows the secrets of small towns.

While the story is written in British English and some local word use and idioms may be slightly confusing in a U.S. market, her characters appear real; emotions, fears and confusions rip through the reader and it’s easy to “see” this all actually taking place.

Can people really be evil? Can teens, and adults, actually be forced through life by powers they don’t understand? Cathi answers these questions with a strong, “Oh, yeah.” Corrine is a teenage girl fighting the peer-demand to “be different” and trusting no one in the “adult, authority” group, all the while trying to unlock the doors of boredom, sameness and restrictions.

Now, private detective Sean Ward is trying to renew his own life, one ripped apart as his success was torn from him. But a twenty year old cold case? And only because an attorney decided to look at an unpopular case and asked him to to find the proof? As the story unfolds, Ward realizes he “needs” a major case, one that would jar him back into life. Teh question is: will this one wake him, or destroy him?

Unsworth writes with clarity and insight about the loss and searching of young people everywhere, twenty years ago and today, and wraps the insights into a story that will have the reader looking back into his or her own life with all its fears and pain.

It’s an absorbing story and this, Cathi Unsworth’s fourth novel, might just keep you up all night!


About the reviewer:

Jim Magwood is an author “born too many years ago” in Vancouver, Canada. He was dragged south across the border by his parents when he was too young to protest and has lived in California the rest of his life.  He retired early and moved from the city to his quiet country place in Twin Oaks. The loudest noises now are some howling coyotes (improvement). His work appears on Amazon and Smashwords; SANCTION, THE LESSER EVIL, COP and NIGHTMARE are available now; JACOB is right around the corner. You can catch him at (And he does answer his mail.)

Sample Sanction:
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