Andriy Kokotiuha “A Gymnasium Student and a Black Hand”

(book review)

In the detective story “A Gymnasium student and a Black Hand” written by Andriy Kokotiuha, Card house is reliably glued, and at first glance, everything looks good. However, after zooming in the camera lenses, you understand that here, as if in a fake chess machine, someone sits in.

It manifests itself primarily in the style of the speech of the author with his probable readers, and it would be possible to forgive his flirting with his audience mixed with unexpected insights. Do the guys still go to computer clubs, taking into account the widespread online shooter? Do they read comics magazines, taking into account their value in paper form and accessibility in the free network? Do they really debate with friends about their brave ancestors – Cossacks or aristocrats?

The plot of the work is simple and allows you to reduce your focus to the main frame of the event, as if the adventures of the novel keep straightforward traveling and the characters are infinitely heading to one ultimate goal. And the goal is finally not so important and interesting as a danger that chases the characters along the way. The danger, in this case, is an insidious ‘black hand,’ a blackmailer who knows a lot from somewhere about students of the first model gymnasium and for their knowledge requires a ransom. The main character, Yurko Turanitsa, decides to give money to the ‘black hand,’ and it becomes a trigger for a classical teenage detective — with the murder in a thrown house, a fragile girl suffering from a strict bonnet, a retirement detective, a bulldog, replacing Yurkov Watson and a multitude of other tropes and clichés apt to this genre.

If we meet some positive people, they look like sugar-and-silk folks. If we run into some negative ones, they are McCoy scoundrels. A striking example is Arkady Raevsky, an assistant of a Minister. He is a despot who does not love his daughter. Besides, he is deceitful and self-suffering, a dog-hater and a real freak…

The advantages of the story relate to a lively plot, which is not boring. The disadvantages embrace the main character that is too perfect. The latter loves Golmes, Maxima Maxim, believes in the victory of the Ukrainian army, can deal with people when they say “your dog” and admires fights under the steep stairs. Yurko would look well in some film or a theater performance, but for a book he lacks volume and surrounding problems. After all, we love Golmes not only for a sharp mind, but also for ironic remarks and funny selfishness.

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