I had the very great pleasure of meeting Dan Smith when I was asked if I would like to host a couple of events on his promotional tour for his latest book Boy X. Dan came to Elgin Library where I was then based and captivated the children from many Moray primary schools. He was friendly, genuine and relaxed. His book was exciting and dramatic and his presentation was good enough that I could listen to it more than once.
On the strength of all of that I’ve continued to follow Dan online and in his books. There are very few children’s authors that I will refuse to work with a second time. Most are at the very least polite and competent. However, those who engage with their readers (and I include myself there) and work well with others in the book industry are the ones whose ongoing careers I am most likely to follow.
So I read Below Zero even though it didn’t sound like my kind of book. It’s a thriller set in Antarctica and I have to tell you that it’s brilliant. Dan’s style of writing really engages the reader and he keeps the plot moving along. There’s a bit of tech involved in this one and I have to confess that some of it I let drift over my head! But the story and the characters grabbed hold of me. As did the punishing cold of Antarctica.