.

.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Chaos Theory by M. Evonne Dobson

Chaos Theory is the debut novel by M. Evonne Dobson.  I met Ms. Dobson at Left Coast Crime and had a good time chatting with her about library work and her YA mystery, published by The Poisoned Pencil.  I told her that my mystery book group would be reading Young Adult mysteries for April and her story sounded like one I definitely wanted to try.

First of all, let's talk about chaos theory a little bit.  Have you heard of the 'butterfly effect'?  It's the idea that small things can cause larger effects at a later time.  Like a butterfly flaps it's wings in one part of the world and this sets in motion changes that will cause a horrific storm later in another part of the world.  Chaos theory is a mathematical study of this premise.  How does it relate to a debut YA mystery?  Let me tell you.

Kami is a 17-year-old high school junior.  She is very smart, maybe too smart.  She is very good with data, not so wonderful at reading emotions.  Kami likes to really think things through.  She plays the flute in the band, wins science fair competitions, wants to go to MIT and also takes martial arts classes.  She's running an experiment in her locker at school that relates to chaos theory.  And she lost her grandmother to cancer recently.  Kami has put up walls because she just can't think about her grandma right now.  The feelings are much, much too big.  Turns out Kami is pretty much a born investigator and this is the first book in 'The Kami Files'.

When Kami's friends, Sandy and Sam, tell her about Daniel, a new guy at their school whose sister, Julia, died recently of a drug overdose, she's not all that interested.  However, she sees Daniel again at her martial arts class and hears more rumors that he's a dealer.  As Daniel and Kami's paths cross several times more, she becomes convinced that Daniel is not involved with drugs.  He's trying to find who gave Julia the drugs and he's working with the police as an informant.  Eventually, Kami, Sandy, Sam, and another friend, Gavin, jump in to help Daniel and then things get really complicated.

I had a good time reading Chaos Theory.  It was a little slow to start, but once things got up to speed, I flew right through it.  Kami is a great character.  She sounds very real, sort of an updated Nancy Drew or less blonde Veronica Mars.  Her group of friends has a definite Scooby gang feel and they each bring strengths to what becomes a fairly sophisticated investigative team.  Their time together takes them to skate parks, horse stables, and a pharmaceutical company, where Kami goes undercover as an intern.  In actuality, Kami's locker chaos theory experiment moves from her locker to her life and she learns that small actions can have wide and far-reaching consequences for all.

I give this Young Adult mystery a two-thumbs up endorsement.  I look forward to reading more adventures of 'The Kami Files' and getting to know her and all her buddies better.  There is a short story starring the same characters called Politics of Chaos that has been published in a Sisters in Crime anthology and another entitled Elemental Chaos that will appear in the 2016 Malice Domestic Anthology.

Thanks to the author, Meg Dobson, who gifted me with Chaos Theory.  I do appreciate it and will be glad to see where Kami and her friends take their investigative team in the future.  I'll leave you with a quote.  Kami is realizing what she and her friends can accomplish, even though they are 'just kids':
'I want to go back to looking down on the world--not connected to it or the people in it.  That cold scientific data that I've hidden behind all my life has been cut away.  I'm free-falling into the chaos below.  This isn't about numbers and data.  What we're doing is important.  It isn't a scientific puzzle to solve anymore.  This is about saving real lives.'

30 comments:

  1. Kami sounds like a great character and the premise sounds interesting too. I don't read a lot of YA mystery so thanks for highlighting this book, Kay.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are very welcome, Melody. Hope you get to try it.

      Delete
  2. I don't think I've ever read a YA mystery! This sounds like a promising series.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I liked it, JoAnn. And there are lots of YA mysteries - like Nancy Drew - LOL!

      Delete
  3. This one sounds awesome, and I like the idea of teens doing something more than tweeting and being annoying...LOL.

    Thanks for sharing and for visiting my blog.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There you go, Laurel-Rain! Well, the kids here are very tech savvy - but that's pretty normal, right?

      Delete
  4. Well, the list goes on. I really think I would like this one!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think you might too, Jenclair!

      Delete
  5. I don't read much YA but the quality of the story shines through on this one. A possibility for me... A grown-up Harriet the Spy or a modern Nancy Drew, it seems.

    Do you think this is appropriate for my elder granddaughter-- is in 7th grade, reads above her grade level, and her mother allows her to watch Pretty Little Liars, Hunger Games and Twilight (so she's not sheltered, except for books with sexual situations in them)?

    Thank, Kay, for a really good review.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmmm...well, I think so, Rita. I can't remember exactly right now. What I would say is that your daughter might want to take a look first. There is one character who is pretty aggressive with one of the boys.

      Delete
  6. Kami sounds like a great character, Kay. I would definitely be interested in giving this book a try. I haven't read many YA mystery novels, but not for lack of interest.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, that's how I felt too, Wendy. Most of us got our start reading mysteries when we were young and so we began with Nancy Drew or whatever, right?

      Delete
  7. This does sound very good and I'm pleased authors like M. Evonne Dobson are creating new books to keep the upcoming crime loving generation entertained!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly! The kids needs something to get them started and it's easier if they can connect with the characters.

      Delete
  8. This sounds like it has a great premise in the chaos theory. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, the whole chaos theory premise is very interesting to me. There was a movie once that was about the 'butterfly' effect. That might have even been the name of the movie. LOL

      Delete
  9. Kay, thank you for your thoughtful review. It is greatly appreciated. I'll be at Malice Domestic in April and the short story, Politics of Chaos, will be available for free download during that time from amazon.com. The second short story to be published in the 2016 Malice Domestic Anthology will be available for free in December as well.

    I'm pleased to announce that an adult short story (not a Kami Files YA) was chosen as the adult winner in the Tempe Community Writing Contest with ties to Arizona State! That anthology releases April 13th.

    I love to open conversations with young authors, so have them contact me via my website. The future of mystery lies in their hands and imaginations!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Meg, thanks so much for stopping by! I'm glad to learn all the short story info from you and will be watching for those. So glad that we met and got to talk about your writing. Good luck!

      Delete
    2. And "Big Horn Mountain Carnivores" released 4.13.16, and my reading went well. It was an awesome experience. There were three author age categories: Adult, College, & High School and three genres: Fiction, Non-Fiction, and Poetry. The room was packed and they had to open one glassed wall to let overflow hear the readings. Best yet? The initial print run of 60 anthologies sold that night! Therefore the librarians had to scramble to get additional copies in time for the Tempe Book Festival that ran through the weekend!

      And if you'd like to read my story? It is now available as a free download. I love the people of Tempe, AZ, the Arizona State University program, and the Tempe Library. Over 140 individuals entered the competition.

      http://www.tempe.gov/city-hall/community-services/tempe-public-library/special-events/writing-contest

      I particularly loved the poetry and the high school entries.

      Delete
  10. This sounds really fun. My mystery book group sometimes reads a YA mystery - usually just once a year - so if we nominate books later this year I'll have to remember this one!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My group is reading YA mysteries for April and I'm not sure all the members are very excited about that. LOL

      Delete
  11. Sounds good. I don't read much YA, but maybe I should. Great review.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Yvonne! I had a good time with this one.

      Delete
  12. The chaos theory is one of my favorite theories in the world - one of the reasons why I love reading time travel books as well. This one sounds very fascinating just by association to chaos theory so I am going to have to check it out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've always been very interested in this theory as well. Will admit that the title is what made me pick it up quickly after coming home.

      Delete

Thanks for stopping by! I am so happy to hear your thoughts and will respond as soon as I can. Happy Reading!