I've known Ellie Marney since before her Every series kicked off with Every Breath but we've never actually spoken about her books. We've spoken about writing, reading recommendations, festivals and a whole host of things but never about a book. So there's nothing like diving in the deep end and speaking about a writer's book to them in front of an audience.
And so this is what I said...
Welcome to the always wonderful Readings Carlton where we will celebrate a gifted storyteller. But before we talk all things Ellie, let us respectfully acknowledge the wonderful storytellers of our past and present as we meet today on the traditional lands of Kulin Nation, in particular the Wurrundjeri and Boonwurrung people. We pay respect to their Elders and to the Elders of all communities and cultures across Victoria.
I am the lucky individual invited to launch the final title in the Every series, Every Move. This book series, that has been so enthusiastically adopted by readers and writers alike, is about to burst free into the word and close the final chapter of Rachel Watts and James Myrcroft. Or is this just one elaborate fake out?
I am probably a suspense writer’s worst nightmare. Growing up I would grab a suspense title and immediately turn to the last page. I always wanted to retroactively figure out the whodunit. As an early teen I evolved…somewhat…and read the first 10-20 pages, guessed whodunit, checked in the back and moved on. What I had failed to realise was I wasn’t some crime reading savant…just a bit of an idiot.
Great books involve, surprise and hopefully leave you a little changed than where you began.
Great books create an attachment with characters that burrow into your consciousness, good or bad, and leave you wanting more.
Great books make you want to kidnap the writer and make them continue writing in the series?
I was totally kidding.
I met Ellie for the very first time at this very Readings store before I had read even one word of her work. Turns out she is one heck of a writer who has managed the elevate the presence of suspense writing in youth literature. Her interpretation of the Sherlock lore might have lured readers in but they stayed for Rachel, Mycroft, Mark, Mai, Gus, Alicia, Harris and who I am choosing to be my fictional Uncle, Professor Walsh.
But enough about Ellie – we’re here to talk about Every Move. Every Move, the final instalment in the Every series. In the interest of not being a spoilsport, I’ve moved on since childhood, I am going to adopt the methodology of Arthur Conan Doyle. When we was teaching medical student, some of which were the first female students, he would teach them three things to familiarise themselves with the patient and diagnose them accurately.
I am going to steal his steps as they equally apply to the mysteries of Every Move.
Step 1: Observe Carefully
Readers will observe that Rachel and Mycroft are in different places after the traumatic incident in London. And I must admit that I was a little traumatised too – three fingers, Ellie? One would have been fine. Wild has made contact and all bets are off. Weeks on, Mycroft has buried himself in the details of his foe and Rachel has been unspooling as her tether to her family and Mycroft have loosened.
Rachel’s transition in this book is nothing short of inspiring as she fights to take control of her fear. At one point a character questions ‘You’re not really his Watson, are you?’ and she’s not. Rachel is questioning, lightning smart, vulnerable and never a sidekick.
James, as he became more commonly referred to, isn’t really Sherlock either. Yes, he’s smart, resilient, broken and a stubborn arse but he’s also loving, sensitive and one heck of a kisser. He’s still a boy, a boy knitting together a circle of trust and recognising that there are more important things than the past.
Step 2: Deduce Shrewdly
My crime reading savant skills didn’t kick in with Every Move due entirely on that fact that Ellie has plotted the heck out of this book (and series). A final book in a trilogy can often be a race to tie up all loose ends before there are no pages left but that’s not the case here. Each book in the Every series, stands strongly by itself and yet manages to work strongly as a collective. This cannot be achieved without a Mycroft and Rachel-like attention to detail, a cunning mind, and an unflinching ability to enact what must be done for maximum impact.
While I may have caught onto the villain, I could not have deduced how the story would resolve, who would be involved and what the repercussions would be? Particularly as Harris, late addition to this world, fits in seamlessly even when he dances around the fringes of our core duo.
Step 3: Confirm with evidence
This is where you come in. I can rant and rave about how greatly I think of this book; the evolution of the characters, the reintegration of Melbourne into the world after London, the strengthening of family ties, the social commentary, and perhaps even the steamy romantic scenes that are built on love, trust and lust. But ultimately you need to confirm it yourself. So pick up a copy of Every Move and get reading.
And then you will feel loss.
The book and series have come to an end.
But fear not, there will be another Ellie Marney title along the way. One that has whipcracking repartee, characters who are brash, cocksure, vulnerable and wise, a world that you can believe in and feel for.
And on that note….
Welcome Every Move, may you be discovered by readers in the present and future.
May you result in many impassioned letters to Ellie demanding more.
May you leave readers at a loss.
May you leave readers wanting more.
Happy launch day, Ellie.
May we take photos with our eyes closed for many more years to come.
(Left photo - @sarahjansencom)