Luke was a thief.
His rule of life was plain and straightforward. If he saw something he wanted, he took it. And he wanted most things he saw.
That's not to say that he needed them. Luke would have been the first to admit that. He thought of it this way. If he couldnt use what he stole, he could sell it - that was never a problem if you knew where to go - and his family always needed money. What he got was his contribution to the family finances. A kind of part-time job.
It paid pretty well too, better than the pittance some of the kids at school accepted for slogging their guts out stacking supermarket shelves or searching the streets for discarded trolleys. Yes, crime paid all right. Of course there were problems, like with any job. Occupational hazards he'd heard them called, though his Dad had summed it up best.:
'Its a game, ennit?' he'd once heard him joke, 'We nick things and try not to let them nick us.'
Luke had been nicked plenty of times. Enough for his name, recorded on the Police National Computer, to be awarded letters after it. Three letters.
Luke Martin Reid, PYO.
Persistent Youth Offender. Persistent, meaning so many times hed lost count. Youth because he was still under sixteen (by two hundred and forty-three days if it was that smart a computer). And Offender, to use another of his Dad's jokes, because he'd offended the cops by showing how hopeless they were at preventing him nicking stuff.
Stuff like the bright blue box that had just attracted Luke's attention. There were a couple of carrier bags with it, sports shop affairs which would be worth lifting as well, but it was the box that mattered most. Judging from the logo and labelling, inside he'd find a top-of-the-range and highly desirable (that was, sellable) pair of running shoes. Laid out as invitingly as it was, across the back seat of a smart 4x4 wagon, the box might just as well have had an additional label on it saying, 'Luke, nick me, please!' ...
"Another great read from this excellent author who writes with realism and compassion" - Bookseller
"This is a great book for readers aged from about 11 years up ... lively with realistic dialogue and a satisfying ending" - School Librarian
"A compassionate and ultimately uplifting book which shows how determination and ambition can point a way out of even the worst situation" - The Northern Echo
"An absorbing British import about the redemptive power of trust" - Kirkus Reviews, USA
Luke Reid is a persistent offender. Convicted yet again, this time for an attempted theft from a car, he's resigned to a spell in the grim Markham Youth Detention Centre.
Unexpectedly, he's given a chance to avoid this. The victim of the crime, Jodi Webb, wants to meet him. More than that, she wants him to accept a community service sentence and help her achieve a burning ambition - to become one of the few blind juniors to compete in the London Marathon.
Luke grasps what he sees as an easy way out. It becomes the biggest challenge of his young life, as well as Jodi's.
- Shortlisted for the Leicester Book Award 2004
- Shortlisted for the Stockport Book Award 2004
- Shortlisted for the West Sussex Book Award 2004
French edition (Filer Droit):
- WINNER of Prix des Incorruptibles 2007
- WINNER of Prix Litterraire des Collegiens de Haute-Savoie 2008
- runner-up for Prix des Lecteurs (France, 2008)
- runner-up for Prix Farniente (Belgium, 2008)
(c) Michael Coleman 2020