Jodi Picoult, Leaving TIme - "A suspension of more-than-average belief"

James Walton

Will Jodi Picoult's latest novel, Leaving Time, make the critics stand up and pay attention?

The Synopsis:
Jenna Metcalf was with her mother the night she disappeared in tragic and mysterious circumstances, but she remembers nothing. Over ten years have passed, and still Jenna reads and rereads her mother's journals, hoping to find some clue hidden there, in the meticulous recording of her scientific research with elephants. Desperate for answers, Jenna uses all her savings to recruit the aid of a private detective - and a psychic.

Jodi Picoult
Leaving Time, Hodder, £16; ebook, £9.99

The Review:
Jodi Picoult is perhaps the classic example of an author whose books sell in their global millions but are either ignored or treated with unfailing sniffiness by the critics (expect, of course, Richard and Judy). With Leaving Time, both of these things seem likely to remain true.

Thirteen-year-old Jenna, who grew up on a New England elephant sanctuary with her parents, sets out to unravel the strange circumstances surrounding her father’s death with the aid of a local private eye and a woman who appears to be a genuine psychic. Along the way, there’s plenty of interesting information about elephant behaviour—but, rather than feeling tacked on, this is neatly combined with the unfolding central mystery, whose solution is jaw-droppingly unexpected but, in retrospect, also carefully prepared for. True, the result does require a suspension of more-than-average disbelief, but if you can manage that—and even if you can’t—Picoult goes about her work with such unashamed conviction that it’s impossible not to be swept along.

Read more articles by James Walton here