Title: The Old Wheel
Series: The Adventures of Holloway Holmes: Book Two
Author: Gregory Ashe
Length: 430 Pages
Category: YA Mystery
Rating: 5 Stars
At a Glance: The Big Secrets trope makes for some particularly good drama and suspense in The Old Wheel. The Big Reveals, though; they are something else altogether. Time after time after time, I’m caught wrong-footed by Gregory Ashe’s butterfly effects, those chaotic little events along the way that lead to seismic results. These are doozies.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: Blackmail. Breakups. Boys. Trouble always comes in threes.
Life is different for Jack Moreno. Good. Definitely good. Well, better, anyway.
He’s back in school (although classes are harder than he expected). And his dad is healthy (which means he’s worrying again about things like Jack’s curfew and, oh yeah, grades). And he’s got a great girlfriend (who might, justifiably, be running out of patience with him). And Holloway Holmes is his friend (even though it’s the kind of friendship that leaves Jack wanting more). So, life is good. Better. Definitely.
Except when it comes to money. With his dad still struggling to pay a mountain of medical bills, Jack jumps at the opportunity to make some extra cash. After all, helping a fellow student deal with blackmail isn’t exactly new—just a few months before, Jack handled a couple of blackmailers on campus. With the help of Holmes, of course.
Only something is different this time. Something Jack can’t put his finger on, something that makes him suspect the blackmail is just a cover for something much more serious. And when one of the blackmailers is murdered and Holmes becomes the prime suspect, Jack and Holmes will have to race to figure out what they’ve missed. Before it’s too late for both of them.
Review: “Trauma is a time traveller, an ouroboros that reaches back and devours everything that came before.” — Junot Díaz
Jack Moreno is no stranger to trauma. It haunts his conscience and features in his nightmares. It figures into the decisions he makes and plays a part in his every misstep. Like the snake eating its own tale, Jack is in a perpetual cycle of change. He breaks down but each time he does, each time he rebuilds, he comes closer to himself. Closer to his dad. And closer to Holloway Holmes.
Holloway, whether he likes it or not, has no small impact on this. He has his own traumas, too, thanks in large part to his psychopathic father and the people with whom his family associate. Being drug dependent is the only way Holloway knows how to cope with being a pawn in his father’s demented games. Blackfriar Holmes is plainly a demon in an expensive suit. And whether Holloway likes it or not, Jack is going to help him the only way Jack knows how—intentionally and with vigor, somewhat to Holloway’s chagrin. Though he is getting better at decoding Jack’s signals.
Apart from messy relationships, which includes Jack’s with his girlfriend, Ariana, blackmail and murder make another appearance at the Walker school—the place ultra-wealthy parents send their kids when they can’t be troubled with them. There’s a lot going on behind the attempts to extort a boy, and it’s complicated all the more by a shooter, a person from Holmes’s past, too many suspects and not enough clues, and the secrets. Oh, the secrets.
The Big Secrets trope makes for some particularly good drama and suspense in The Old Wheel. The Big Reveals, though; they are something else altogether. Time after time after time, I’m caught wrong-footed by Gregory Ashe’s butterfly effects, those chaotic little events along the way that lead to seismic results. These are doozies. How it all will play out remains to be seen, of course, but one thing is certain: The Holmeses, the Moriartys, the Adlers, and the Watsons will all be a part of the misrule and mayhem.
You can buy The Old Wheel here: