Dead-End Job by Vicki Grant

Dead-End Job by Vicki Grant

Grant, Vicki. Dead-End Job. Orca Soundings, 2006. ISBN 128 pp. $9.95


Aspiring artist Frances is working the late shift at a local convenience store when a customer arrives and attempts to charm her. She’s used to some of the regulars hanging around for a few minutes to warm up but something about this Devin guy isn’t quite right, plus she knows her boyfriend Leo would be jealous of another man’s attention. She ignores him, tries to befriend him and even sets him up with a friend, but he remains singularly focused and frighteningly moody, finally driving away Leo. Is Devin a harmless con artist, or mentally unbalanced enough to be dangerous?

Grant has penned a fast paced and exciting novel about a resourceful teen trying to do the right thing. She doesn’t waste limited space describing the protagonist or setting, lending versatility to the story. The title is clever, and the ending is quickly resolved in a way that leaves gory details off the page. Supporting characters are hastily drawn but Frances’s voice is strong. The book has potential for use in middle and high school settings for discussions about dating safety, and the neon cover, subject matter, 3.6 reading level and short length should find appeal with reluctant readers like other titles in the Soundings series.

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