Missing, Presumed Evil by Garth Nix and Sean Williams

Missing, Presumed Evil: two kids are silhouetted by an explosionTrouble Twisters book 4

A review by Nalini Haynes

Missing, Presumed Evil is the 4th in the Trouble Twisters series for children aged 8 to 12 by Garth Nix and Sean Williams. I previously reviewed The Monster and Mystery of the Golden Card, the 2nd and 3rd in the series respectively.

Jack and Jaide, the magical Troubletwister twins, discover an animated letter that attacks Jack in an effort to be read, revealing Grandma X’s twin sister is alive in the Evil dimension. Stephano, an arrogant over-achiever only a little older than the twins, comes to stay with them. Rivalry erupts almost immediately.

The Evil tries to break through to Earth and succeeds. Nights are spent housecleaning: killing insects that are part of the Evil’s gestalt intelligence.

The Warden council decides to seal off Earth so the Evil can never again re-enter the world.

Jack and Jaide discover the Wardens have factions, some of whom argue to preserve the Evil. This shades-of-grey trope is one of my favourites but in Missing, Presumed Evil this trope didn’t come into full force until the denouement. At the very end, this trope bore forcefully down upon the reader who anticipates future installments.

I’m pretty sure reserves on sports teams attend sports practice. I can’t help but wonder if it’s been so long since Garth and Sean attended school that they’ve forgotten.

To sprout or not to sprout

Those who follow Sean Williams on social media will be aware of his love for Brussel sprouts that almost amounts to a fetish. Hector, Jack and Jaide’s father, also loves Brussel sprouts; Hector’s love for the green vegetable is viewed as an anomaly. Nice touch.

The Wrap

Missing, Presumed Evil is a story about family and friendships amid fantasy, with middle-schoolers battling a monstrous enemy while learning about life. While the first chapter or two seems intent on expanding reading ability by using words with which the target age-group may not be familiar, I think the rest of the novel settles into a more comfortable groove. Highly recommended for primary and middle school readers.

Book details

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
ISBN: 9781742374017
Publisher: A&U Children’s
Imprint: A & U Children
Pub Date: May 2014
Format: Paperback, pp. 360
Category: Children’s fiction ages 8 to 12